Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mesa Verde in 2002

Colorado has some wonderful historical sites preserved in parks and other government-owned areas open to the public yet despite the fact I've lived here for over forty years I've visited only a few of them. But each time I do venture out to explore this beautiful state I am thrilled with the beauty and historical significance of our preserved heritage.

In September of 2002, to celebrate my recent retirement from Anheuser-Busch, I made a trip to Mesa Verde National Park to see that most enchanting preservation of ancient cliff dwellings, the former home of the Ancestral Puebloan People or Anasazi as most of us know them. The park was created in 1906, thanks to President Teddy Roosevelt, and has seen millions of visitors in the last 100 years. Despite the wear and tear that comes with millions of visitors and the descecration caused by looters and vandals, the park is beautiful place that feels remote and sacred. Its location in the high desert bluffs of southwestern Colorado ensures its natural state. The best way I can say that is you won't see a McDonalds or WalMart next to the ruins. Many photographers have captured the beauty of Mesa Verde with their images; I've included a black and white photo by Ansel Adams of Cliff Palace and a Wikimedia Commons photo of a group of tourists at the base of Cliff Palace. My favorite part of the tour was climbing the wood and rope ladders up to Balcony House and I've used my own photograph to illustrate that. It's a beautiful place and I recommend visiting Mesa Verde to those who love Native American history, archaeology, and the great outdoors.

There is a hotel of sorts inside the park and a restaurant too. The hotel has minimal services so as not to detract from the serenity of the park. This is not a Disneyland vacation!

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