Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cliff Dwellers

I finally made it to Mesa Verde National Park in southern Colorado, it was worth the wait.
We've all heard of the cliff dwellers & seen pictures of the large buildings built under the overhang high up off the canyon floor. What's the most surprising to me was the time line of these famous dwellings.

Mesa Verde cliff dwelling

The people lived on the top of the plateau for hundreds of years. First in pit houses & they worked up to full fledged pueblos.
Then about the year 1200 they moved off the plateaus and built the cliff dwellings we are all familiar with.

Mesa Verde 

Mesa Verde with the upstairs visible

One hundred years later they abandoned the cliff dwellings & left.  It's not just here in Mesa Verde either... All the work & 100 years later they left.

For what it's worth the Little Ice Age  is generally given a start date of 1250-1300.

At the Navajo National Monument  they only occupied the place for 35 years.

Navajo National Monument

These places are worth the time it takes to see them. I was also really impressed with Chato Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico.







There is a campground in Mesa Verde NP, nice place, there is also dispersed free camping just outside the gate.
Inside the park the showers, the RV dump & water fill are free. The cliff dwellings are a bit of a drive into the park.

Durango to the east was a really nice little town as is Cortez to the west.