Thursday, October 23, 2008
Cliff Palace Mesa Verde
Crisp winds and cool temperatures made for light crowds in late October at Mesa Verde National Park. We had not originally intended to visit these hallowed grounds but, thanks to a suggestion from Uncle Tom, found ourselves taking in the wondrous masonry remains left by Ancestral Puebloans who lived here 1,400+ years ago; well before anyone European had set foot in the Americas. Exploring the elaborated stone work built in the sheltered alcoves perched above steep canyon walls, I was most intrigued in by the round, subterranean Kiva (a Hopi word for ceremonial room) with the a small hole in the floor, a sipapu, to allow spirits to move from other worlds into this - the fourth world. The cliff dwellers left Mesa Verde 750 years ago, archaeologists still are uncertain why, and traveled south to New Mexico and Arizona; as we must do soon also as its getting mighty cold in these here hills!