The second week on our road trip was highlighted by the time we spent in Mesa Verde National Park. For those of you unfamiliar with the park, it’s located in the southwest corner of Colorado. It is an important park because of the cultural history found here.
Everyone who visits the park is amazed at the tenacity of the ancient native Americans. It is mind-boggling to think about how they survived in such rugged conditions. There are numerous cliff dwellings scattered throughout the park. (Several are open to the public.) There’s also an excellent Visitor’s Center, museum, and a great self-guided tour of the mesa.
It’s a great park to spend time studying and learning. We took our children here several times when they were young and all three loved letting their imaginations run wild. The cliff dwellings show life lived at a very basic level. (“But Mom, how could they live without a place to plug in?”)
Mesa Verde is also a great place to camp. There are nearly 400 camp sites but the ranger said they are never completely full. Our experience of tent camping after years of RV camping was a pleasant return to something we’ve loved our whole lives. We didn’t have all the luxuries we’ve become used to, but we exchanged them for other luxuries. Absolutely nothing compares to the experience of looking up at the mid-night sky and seeing stars shining bright everywhere – all the way around and down to the horizon. It’s definitely an emotional experience for me.
The other joy of tent camping for us is all the people we meet. Campers normally wave to each other, but it seems when we are tent camping, they come on over and visit. Most campers open with the phrase, “Where you from?” or sometimes “Where you goin’?” There is always something to talk about. The conversations can go on for anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. And honestly, every person we’ve met has beem interesting with great stories to tell.
A real character was a guy named Bud. He’s worked for the Park for 20+ years. He visited with us several times and was a treasure box of information about the area. He also had a great sense of humor. The pyramid you see in the picture above is a very imposing part of the section of the campground we were in. I mentioned this to Bud one time and he told he was getting ready to join the expedition to enter the pyramid and, hopefully, find gold and other riches among the mummified bodies. He actually “had” me for about half a minute! I thought it sounded like a great adventure! But alas, it’s not a man-made pyramid. It’s all natural. When we began driving around we noticed the only time the mountain looked like a pyramid was from our area of the campground. Kind of cool, huh?
We spent the end of the week driving in order to get to southern Indiana and the home of our youngest daughter. We’ll spend our third week visiting with her. We’re planning to take a little trip down to Nashville, Tennessee – just to get out of town. Yes, we are weird when it comes to traveling.