Our last day in Durango, we drove out to Mesa Verde National Park with Mo. What an awesome Park! The scenery is beautiful, and the cliff dwellings are amazing. Many of the larger community sites have been partially restored and I spent all day marveling at the ingenuity and tenacity of the people who created them. Most everyone knows the basics: that these Native Americans lived in dwellings built in and on the cliff faces of the area. But when you’re standing in a pueblo and you walk to and from on the trails, you start to think about what their lives were really like and it’s a bit mind-boggling. For starters, all those bricks required clay & water: you had to either haul the materials up the cliff, or make the bricks elsewhere and lug them up the cliff. A few of the communities had seep springs at house level and there’s evidence that they caught and stored rainwater, but most had to rely on springs that were down on the canyon floor for at least some part of the year. I was having enough trouble lugging me & my 2 liters of water up & down the trails: can’t imagine what it was like to haul enough water to satisfy the drinking & cooking needs of a whole family. Or hauling an elk carcass up the hill. And that seems like the easy part! The Puebloans cleared the mesa tops for growing crops. In some places the mesa tops could be accessed by ladder, but in most they carved little hand & foot-holds in the rock and climbed up the cliffs every day, bringing produce back down with them. Take a look at some of the pics below and think about that. Not a life for the faint of heart or the lazy!