My husband and I took a trip to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. The idea was to do research for the sequel to Redaction, but really I wanted a chance to get up close and personal with the Cliff dwellings.
You see growing up in the Southwest, I’ve visited many pueblos but they were always roped off, high on a cliff or behind plexiglass–in a look but don’t touch kind of way.
But here, finally was my chance. These cliff dwellings were open to the public and Score! (Not squirrel!) you could go inside, touch the buildings, stand at the fire pits and just imagine.
Although the park entrance was only 7 miles from our hotel, google maps said it would take an hour to get to the visitor’s center. You see, after you get to the entrance there’s 15 miles of twisting, turning roads. I would show you the pictures, but my husband just held the camera up with one hand, snapping pictures of cars that drove by, and dug his fingers on his other hand into the seat.
We arrived at the visitiors center and had to wait in the frigid wind for half an hour, while we considered our options of which of the peublos we wanted to see. One had a 130 ft verticle climb to get out. Given Nick’s love of heights, we ruled that one out. The second had a 12 ft passage way that was 18 inches wide. I’m claustrophobic so that was never going to happen. EVER! So just like the three litle pigs we opted for the 3rd tour of the long house. This one was listed as strenuous because of the 230 ft drop in the trail (including
stairs) to get up and down from it. No one mentioned that the sheep trail would have a about 50 ft (Nick says it was 1000) length that barely clung to the mountain and and a sheer drop of 1000 feet down with no railing. Nick left fingernail marks in the mountain as we passed on the way down.
He sprinted out of the canyon didn’t stop until he was near the top where the drop off wasn’t so close to the trail. The Ranger, a man with a cane and I brought up the rear.
It was well worth the trip.