Years ago I visited Mesa Verde…at least I went to the museum and Spruce Tree House, because I was on vacation, and time was of the essence. But it was enough.
Ok when I tell you this experience I had back then you’ll probably think I’m whacko…oh well, I probably am.
It’s maybe 1990, I’m alone walking through the Mesa Verde Museum when I see a small ancient pot, ( the place has many pots) and the strangest feeling comes over me. My thought is ‘That’s mine! I made that!’ I’m instantly in shocked surprise and simultaneously feeling silly at such a thought and having a major emotional reaction. I had to get out of there. I hadn’t been much of a believer in reincarnation so I have no explanation of where the thoughts or strong feelings came from. This is one of 3 strange reactions I had while I was on that vacation. Returning home, that fall I signed up for a pottery class at the local community college. I recreated that pot and I still have it among my meager possessions in Mary’s garage. In class I found that I enjoyed making pottery with coils the most, and using the wheel held no interest for me.
Back in the present, it’s too early in the season for tours at Mesa Verde ( I wouldn’t go anyway, due to the dogs) but all the overviews are open and many are quite dramatic, such as afore mentioned Spruce Tree House and the Cliff Palace. All in all there are more than 600 cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, not to mention other dwellings which brings the total up to around 4000! This was a heavily populated area 800 years ago!
Spruce Tree House.
I enjoy being here. It just feels good.
Not sure of the names of the rest of these houses. Notice the Kivas here? The big round holes. They used to have log ceilings.
There is a campground at Mesa Verde,not yet open for the season, and when it is reservations are needed. I’m staying right across from the park and Hwy 160 at the Ancient Cedars RV Resort. It’s nice enough, and a clean Good Sam park but RV sites tend to be tight, though there are some nice ones. It’s not busy now so it’s not a problem.
There are many ancient dwellings in this general area, and I choose to visit Hovenweep National Monument as well. One of the main reasons I choose it is because dogs are surprisingly allowed on the trails there!
It’s just over a 50 mile drive from where we are staying. Many of the structures there are tower-like buildings. The Square Tower group is the most accessible with the path starting right behind the Visitor Center, where I first watch an 18 minute movie, and then go get Joy and Shiloh to walk the trail with me. It’s a 2 mile hike but we don’t do the whole trail due to Joys tolerance. I think we cover about a mile total and I’m very proud of her for that.
Looking over the edge!
On the Square Tower Loop.
I’m in awe of the people who lived her…their strength, agility, architecture and farming skills, 800 and more years ago. With our technology, we have nothing on them. Really.
There is a small campground here with no hook ups and first come, first serve. Some sites would accommodate a small RV.
We traveled to Cortez, Colorado via Shiprock and Gallup New Mexico and when we leave tomorrow we will spend the night in Gallup, then go a bit farther east before heading north for the Dakotas on the east side of the Rockies. We will travel slowly, staying one or two nights at RV parks until we get to the Black Hills area of South Dakota. Our path will take us into Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, all places I haven’t been yet on this adventure!
*** If you are looking for Native American art such as jewelry, pottery or baskets, besides Hubble Trading Post mentioned a couple of posts back, I like Notah-Dineh Trading Company here in Cortez. Of course there are MANY places to buy such art, and Gallup is filled with them.
This 12×18 foot Navajo masterpiece is on display at Notah-Dineh Trading Company in the museum there.