I love living in the Northwest surrounded by tall trees. I now live more in nature, and I sometimes wonder why I need to travel to far away places. Everything I love is right here at home. However, once I’m on the road, I’m glad to get out of my little world and see diverse landscapes, towns, and people.
Driving through Oregon, Idaho, Utah and into Colorado, it was refreshing to see big sky and expansive land. America is indeed huge and beautiful.
Mesa Verde National Park is best known for the cliff dwellings, but also one of those places you can hear deep silence, and see land expanding forever like an ocean.
After stopping at the beautiful information center at the bottom of the mesa, we drove up to the top, and did the Mesa Top Drive auto tour. You can see how ancestral Pueblo people developed dwellings, and ceremonial places from the 6th century to the 14th century. I was totally grateful someone found these sites, preserved them, and made the effort to find out how people lived a long long time ago. It seems as if American history starts in 1492, but people lived here. I wonder why there aren’t many other sites like this one in the U.S.
I believe this is something called “Kiva”. The guidebook says “were likely used for combined religious, social, and utilitarian purposes”.
One of the colonies built on the side of a cliff. They call these a “house”, but I understand it was more like a village. You can see a “Kiva” in the center here, too.
The Mesa top Loop auto tour ended at the Sun temple in which more sophisticated designs and building techniques were used, but never completed. I was very intrigued to find out that people left this place after putting so much energy into building. According to the brochure, prolonged drought (25 years?) caused the people to moved south to Arizona. Did they build other villages like these in Arizona? What happened to them?