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by | 2018 | The Lills, Travel

When the two of us began our cross-country trip in our VW bus in South Carolina, we had no idea what was ahead or how far we would go. We could never have expected to welcome a kitten into our family, make it to our birthplace, land in Roswell for their annual UFO festival, get to see the Grand Canyon and the beautiful sandstones in Arizona or fall in love with the state of Colorado, but we did.

Colorado is often called “God’s country”. It’s known for its outdoor activities and we made it a point to experience as much as possible, while in the beautiful state. We spent some time exploring Pagosa Springs in the summer and we enjoyed cross-country skiing, snowboarding and ice skating in Colorado during the winter. When the snow began to melt and the first bit of warmth showed itself, we hopped back in our bus and headed to another wild place on earth.

Cliff Palace | Mesa Verde National Park | The Lills Travel

Mesa Verde National Park is home to some incredible ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and archaeological sites. Theodore Roosevelt helped create the park in 1906, but history tells us, it was a couple of cowboys who first stumbled upon the mesa in 1888. It is believed that the first inhabitants of the area were nomadic Paleo-Indians, back around 7500 BC. The World Heritage Site today, has over 52,000 acres of land, 600 cliff dwellings and 4,300 documented sites.

When we arrived at “Cliff Palace” (the largest cliff dwelling in the country), we walked out to the ledge with our dog, Sunday, and stood in awe. We could imagine these people’s lifestyle woven into the surrounding resources and a closeness to the environment that few must know the likes of. The cliff dwellings were just amazing, the energy was peaceful and The mesa was another wonderful reminder of how simple life can be.

We self-guided ourselves along the mesa to “The House of Many Windows”, “Spruce Tree House”, “Far View Community”, “The Pipe Shrine House” and “The Balcony House”. Each site was remarkably well kept and provided great insight into what life was like in the communities that lived there. We were so surprised we had never heard of this historic site before.

Our new Colorado friend, Dave (a very wise and insightful fellow), visited Mesa Verde with us that day. While walking around the sites, he let us know about the types of rocks we found, like travertine, fossilized clay and gypsum. Dave filled us in on the incredible resources that the Mesa Verdeans had right at their fingertips, like the San Juan Basin, the Rio Grand Valley and the Great Basin.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Dwellings | The Lills Travel

We went to the museum and learned a lot about the lifestyle of the inhabitants at Mesa Verde and online, we saw photographs from the first caravan of Americans, who had driven their old-school Ford automobiles to see the mesa. One of the funniest moments was when we found a tin can from around the late 1950’s. It reminded us that time is a layered cake. The first people of that land made their mark, the pioneers and builders of this country made theirs and modern folk continue to imprint the land. We recommend anyone visiting Colorado, to take a day and go visit the amazing Mesa Verde National Park. See what happens next on our cross-country adventure here!


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