This trip was conceived when I asked Cynthia for a recommendation for an ancient site to visit in the United States. She made several recommendations, but Mesa Verde was her first, and it fit in well with other things to see and do on a trip that was part R&R; and part pilgrimage.
This is Mesa Verde as seen from US highway 160.
Far View House, one of the earlier structures, built before the famous cliff dwellings.
This is a distant view of Spruce Tree House
, the most accessible of the cliff dwellings. If you look in the foreground (you may need to click the picture to enlarge it), you can see people on the trail going down into the canyon.
Spruce Tree House close up. The people on the right are looking down into a kiva as a ranger explains it. It was pretty obvious why the ancestral Puebloans lived here – it’s shaded, and therefore a lot cooler than being out in the open.
I had a chance to go down into one of the kivas that is still covered. I couldn’t stay long, but I was there long enough to get a sense of power – important things were done here.
This is Balcony House
, another of the famous cliff dwellings. You can only visit it as part of a ranger-led tour, and the tour requires climbing multiple ladders. Cathy doesn’t do ladders. If it had been a Druid site or an ancient Egyptian site, I would have left her in a museum and gone on by myself. But I felt like I had experienced what I needed to experience at Spruce Tree House, so I was content to take pictures from the Soda Canyon Overlook.
Enlarge the picture to get a better view of the structure and the people climbing in and around it.
I’ll talk about my spiritual experiences in the next post.