Up early, out the door, we’re on a roll! So great to get a jump on things, really cover some ground…until you get to the gas station. This is where we fill up, (mom’s place is about 25 miles out of town), only to see gas spilling out under the car. Sorry Dick, we didn’t want to worry you, that’s why we hadn’t said anything. All is well, we figure the hose at the top of the tank was loose, and we had some overflow. Still, we cautiously rolled the car away from the pumps, and Richard crawled under as best he could for a look. We saw no new spillage, so we decided we would try to get it to a shop of some sort to get a look. We both looked at each other warily, before RG got in the car. I said “since we have children to think of, I’ll wait over here” you know, in case of “emergency”!
No worries, all calm. We looked all over town, but it was a Saturday morn before 9, so we rolled the dice, and decided to head out to the Mesa. Good call, everything was fine. So Mesa Verde was of course incredible. Just seeing the mesa in the distance, and realizing we were going to climb to the top was exciting enough. But then we get on the park road, which loops and climbs for 20 miles through the wilderness, and we are blown away. The views just don’t quit out here. Then, when we approach the top we notice that it looks as if we are in a ghost forest. All the trees are bare and gnarled looking. We find out later at the Visitor’s center that there was a fire on the mesa back in 2003 that scorched the whole area.
Richard and I are not guided tour kind of people, so we set off with our maps, and headed to Spruce Tree house- I think that was the name. It’s a very well preserved example of all the dwelling there, and easily accessible. We wandered around a bit, top and bottom of the cliff dwelling, then had lunch, then moved on. We only had a few hours after all!
There is a loop drive that takes you by all the hotspots, and all are interesting, but after awhile, you’ve seen enough for a day. Lots a great pics though. Richard is a budding photog! It really is amazing how these people not only adapted to the land, but actually lived prosperous lives there. It was estimated that at one time there was between 30,000 to 40,000 people living in that area…in the cliffs and on top of the mesa. Unbelievable.
We headed back to camp, had another good meal, and got ready to head out in the morning for warmer climates. New Mexico, Land of Enchantment, awaits.