The tourist goal for today is Mesa Verde National Park. Inside the park are the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people. We take a tour of the Cliff Palace, which was home to an estimated 90 people. They farmed on top of the Mesa and lived under the cliff in quite a substantial group of dwellings.
The ranger was quite informative and humorous, drawing on current lifestyle examples to explain the way of life back around 1200 AD when the pueblo peoples lived in the area. These dwellings look very much like the condos you might find in any west coast city. Smallish abodes stacked this way and that, they even have lofts which I guess served as sleeping quarters.
Everyone seemed to be astonished that these folk could build these houses with square corners, fine workmanship and mortar, but one must remember the Greeks and Romans were building great structures long before that time.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we both thoroughly enjoyed the tour and seeing the various dwellings. The peoples that lived here and the city they lived in are indeed fantastic. There is a lot to be impressed by and a lot to learn, like; why did they abandon such a beautiful place? The question is, even if we figure out the reason, are we prepared to listen to the past and maybe avoid the same fate the befell their civilization?
It’s funny but I always look at this type of artifact from an engineering viewpoint. In the museum, the displays that intrigue me are the ones that show how the houses etc were constructed. I usually cruise past the pottery and clothing.
Murray and I were talking on the drive from Mesa Verde towards Taos, New Mexico about how we find traveling in the US different than elsewhere we have been. The one thing that disturbs me is the gun thing. You know how when you enter a building, like a visitor centre, there are stickers at the entrance showing no smoking, no dogs. Here there are often stickers that say NO FIREARMS!! WTF!! (I just thought the signs were funny. M) I do not like the fact that people could be carry guns in stores, at gas stations, in restaurants. “I don’t like the way you drive…..BLAM!” Okay, now I am ranting. Anyway, the gun thing makes me just a little…..touchy.
Update on the speed limit thing. It was quite easy to follow the Colorado system of speed. It seemed to match Alberta’s closely. This size road in such a condition and the speed is thus. It was relatively easy to know what the limit was even if we had not seen a sign. Then we crossed into New Mexico. The speed immediately dropped 15 mph. Back to searching for signs and the signs are few.
Mesa Verde is how the day starts. The rest of the day traverses another ecosystem and much different terrain. We are now in the foot hills, the mountains are near but we are not and will not go above the treeline but we are in an evergreen forest and the road takes us over this hill and that, never flat and rarely straight. We do feel quite at home in this environment. We arrive in Taos, it is chilly and there is winter in the air.