The Stones Tell a Story if We Listen to Them Speak
Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
95Trip End Ongoing
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The SW corner of Colorado is home to our good friend Kevin and Mesa Verde. We first hit Gunnison and spent some time with Kevin and went on a beautiful hike with him in Ohio Valley. I was awe struck by the scenery and the canyon there. Many wildflowers still blooming and amazing spires rising to the sky. Somehow didn't bring my camera that day so will have to keep the image in my head. SW Colorado is beautiful scenery and if we thought we could fair the winters it would be tempting to move there.
Stop number 2, was Mesa Verde National Park. Home to the Native American cliff dwellings dated from 1200 AD to 1300 AD. Native American's lived in this area for hundreds of years prior to the cliff dwellings being built however they are the most still visible and most amazing structures built by them. Just about everything about these people is left to interpretation and most Rangers' and tours you take have contradictory information. So little is known about how they lived, why they built on the cliffs and why they suddenly disappeared.
We took tours of Cliff Palace and Balcony House and we had to ascend/descent wooden ladders (one was 32 feet high) to get into them. The Puebloans didn't use ladders they had hand and toe holes on the side of the rocks that got them around. Amazing! How they could possibly maneuver these cliffs with babies, harvests and daily living needs is beyond me. So, my thought is they kept falling off and is why they left. Just kidding! The most likely reasons for them leaving were the beginning of an ice age and that the top of the mesa's, where they grew their crops, was no longer harvesting well after hundreds of years of growing there.
You'll see some pictures of Kiva's which is a Hopi word for ceremonial rooms. They used these places for praying and I speculate for much more such as warmth in the winter as they were built into the ground and the family to kiva ratio is many in some of the dwellings. I could really go on for a long time talking about this place. I have always been very interested in Native American living and hold a lot of respect for how they lived in harmony with the earth.