Road Trip: Mesa Verde

I got to spend last Friday traipsing around Mesa Verde National Park with my daughter. The park protects archaeological sites of the Ancestral Pueblo people, including some amazing cliff dwellings. 

Juniper House from the overlook.

Another view of Juniper House

It was amazing how many of these dwellings are tucked away in the crevices and crannies along the canyon wall.  In this canyon alone there are at least twelve. (They're not all in the photo.) The longer I stood there, the more I kept seeing, not just villages but smaller outbuildings as well.

Canyon wall

One thing that struck me was how the people who lived here would have had to think of their world very much in terms of a vertical axis, whereas in our culture we tend to think very predominantly in terms of the horizontal plane.

trees

I also loved all the gnarled trees up on the mesa top. The snowy winters, scorching summers, and inexorable desert winds have grown them into gloriously artistic shapes. 

burned forest

And since it's so close to Halloween, we particularly appreciated our stroll through this mildly creepy forest of post-wildfire dead trees.

With ravens circling overhead.

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Read more about Mesa Verde and its people here and here.