Last month, I took a 2000 mile road trip to Colorado, and decided to stop in Mesa Verde National Park to see a place called the Cliff Palace!
This park surprised me. I don’t know what I expected, but I was so taken aback and impressed by how sophisticated these cliff dwellings were, how ingenious, and how fearless these people must have been. I was told beforehand how some of the cliff dwellings were hundreds of feet off the ground, but I think perhaps I didn’t believe they were REALLY that high up. How these people didn’t fall regularly is a mystery to me!
The story of the people that lived in Mesa Verde is also quite the mystery. They lived in the region, and developed their skills at pottery and masonry over many generations. They had communities and villages all throughout the area. They farmed on the land above the cliffs, and were famous for growing the Three Sisters–a diet of squash, corn and beans–a combination that provides the human body with nearly all the nutrients needed to survive, while also being a perfect trifecta of plants working in a kind of symbiosis while growing to create healthy crop.
Standing on the cliffs, you could look across and see all the cliff dwellings all around. The people here had dogs and turkeys, farms, ladder systems, storage buildings built into the cliff faces. It seemed like the perfect set up. Then suddenly…they all left. No one really knows why.
Their structures have been preserved and reconstructed, but there’s still so much to be learned. I’d go check it out again for sure! If you’re ever near Durango, Colorado, it’s worth the trip and you should definitely stop by!