I spent most of the day Saturday at Mesa Verde National Park, about 35 miles west of Durango. I had stopped here when I was in Durango about a month ago but when I got to the Visitor Center and learned how much there is to see here I decided to wait and spend some quality time on my return trip. Today I finally have the car issues resolved and tried to dedicate most of the day to the Park.
Unfortunately, rain and cold, windy weather had other ideas. I could tell on the radar that a powerful thunderstorm system was rapidly moving in from the southwest. As I drove west towards the Park I could see the wicked lightning and very, very dark clouds. I knew there had been hail with the storm the day before so I was a little nervous but after the first portion of the storm crossed the road I was actually able to scoot through and past the entrance to the Park and overshoot it to the town of Cortez, about 10 miles further west before the second, and larger portion of the storm hit. There I went to a 24 hour Wal-Mart and shopped for things I didn’t need until the rest of the storm passed.
When conditions improved and the lightning was safely away I went back and spent the rest of the morning and all afternoon at the Park. Unfortunately, most of the cave dwelling tours are finished for the season. I may be able to see them from a distance but won’t get close. The day remained overcast and cold (never even made it past 60 until mid-afternoon). I took some pictures but will hold off posting them until tomorrow. I plan to go back all day today (Sunday) and the rain is gone and the weather (and temps) should be much better. I will visit at least one of the cliff dwellings which still have tours and post those pictures tomorrow.
In the meantime, I did spot one very small dwelling (not even on their map) and will post those photos now. It is VERY small compared to the others, but will give you some idea where they are and how people lived way back in the cave dwelling days.
Here is a sequence of three pictures zooming in on the “tiny house” I spotted from the road.