Mesa Verde National Park contains some of the most notable and best preserved cliff dwellings in the United States. The park was created in 1906 to preserve the heritage of the Ancestral Puebloans. The Puebloans used to live in dwellings on top of the mesa until around 1200 AD when they moved down into the cliffs and built whole villages.

wpid-mesaverde1-2009-05-10-21-20-2009-05-10-21-20.jpg

We are camped right on the outskirts of the park – to early in the season for the park campground. The drive into the park is a long winding road up through the mountains. Riddled with devastation from lots of forest fires. Since 1906 80% of the park has been burned by fire – mainly lightning strikes.
We picked two hikes that lead to a couple of villages. Cliff Palace & Spruce Tree House. Cliff Palace has over 200 rooms, mutli-storied constructions that certainly seem to hold up to any modern day architecture. Everything has remained so preserved in the dry climate it appears as though this bustling society just left suddenly. Black soot remains on the ceilings as a reminder that some family ate here, slept here, loved here. A lifetime ago perhaps, but then in comparison Stoke has been a thriving community since around the same time. We climbed down into a Kiva (thought to be used for ceremonies) it was a good 10 degrees cooler – lovely break from the heat.
Crazy ladders everywhere to get in and out of the sites.