Green Table. That’s the translation of Mesa Verde. We stopped at this National Park for a few hours on our way to Moab and damn glad we did. It’s fascinating to learn about the ancestral Pueblo people that took residence in the cliffs of Mesa Verde from 600 AD to 1300 – over 800 years old. The guide was very adamant about not leaning against the walls or touching anything in order to help preserve the place. I’ve since learned it’s temporarily closed due to archeologists finding some structural damage.
A park ranger guided us on a thorough tour of the Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America. Primarily constructed out of the sandstone cliffs, this architectural brilliance put me in a place of utter wonder. Add to it, the ancient Puebloans built these dwellings in a way that protected them from the elements while simultaneously maximizing on those same elements for everyday survival.
At 7000 feet elevation and with steep trails and ladders to climb, it has some strenuous parts, so this tour is not for the faint of heart. It was fun!
The Cliff Palace housed about 1000 Pueblo Indians and had approximately 150 rooms including 23 kivas (round sunken rooms for ceremonies). Our guide, Jim, told us clearly that the Ancient Pueblo Indians are not to be called Anasazi. Anasazi is a word used by the Navaho Indians to describe these people, but the people here are ancestors of the Pueblo Indians, and the Puebloans do not like their ancestors being referred to by a Navaho word. that may have the derogatory meaning “ancient enemy.”
The Pueblo people believe that their ancestors spirits still reside in the dwellings and that all visitors are walking on their sacred land. We were asked to maintain respect for this hallowed space. Easy enough. I learned so much that it’s better for all of us if I didn’t write it all out, so just go and see this unique place and learn about the Ancestral Pueblo People.
Information on Tickets: here
Park Entrance Fee: $15.00
Guided Tour of Cliff Palace: $4.00
Hold on to what is good,
Even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
Even if it’s easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
Even if someday I’ll be gone away from you.
~A Pueblo Indian Prayer
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Our Journey West Across the US
Post #1: Macon Music in Georgia
Post #2: Boy from Tupelo, Mississippi
Post #3: Two Must-Sees in Memphis Tennessee
Post #4: Mosey Through the Arkansas Ozarks
Post #5: Gettin’ Our Kicks on Route 66 from Missouri to Sapulpa, Oklahoma
Post #6: More Route 66 Kicks from Sapulpa to Oklahoma City
Post #7: Don’t Mess with Texas on Route 66
Post #8: Route 66 Texas Panhandle
Post #9: Bound for Tucumcari, New Mexico
Post #10: Santa Fe’ed Your Soul
Post #11: The Winds of Taos
Post #12: The Good, the Bad, and the Heinous of New Mexico
Post #13: Dusky, Durable Durango
This is Post #14: Cliff Dwellings of Mesa Verde Colorado
Post #15: Moab Rocks
Post #16: No Clever Title for Richfield, Utah
Post #17: Leavening Las Vegas