Mesa Verde – Ancient Native American Home

By Janet Walgren
I have been fascinated by the photos that my friends email me or post on facebook or their blogs about the places that they call home.  I remember thinking what a beautiful place India is (after Archana posted photos of her trip to the Indian countryside). Before her post I thought India was a place that I would never want to visit… full of poor, fly infested neighborhoods with starving people who had snakes in their houses. Now, I know that isn’t true and I would love to go there.

I can imagine that many of my blogging friends around the world have watched TV, news and movies depicting America as a dangerous land overrun with large cities full of criminals and immoral people. Nothing could be farther from the truth so I thought I would do a series about the place, and the country, that I call home. 

The United States of America is a large diverse land with many landscapes and cultures. I would like to show you one of the places that I visited recently.

My dad is 86 years old and out hiked us all. He truely is magnificient!!!

My dad is 86 years old and out hiked us all. He truly is magnificent!!!

I took my dad on a trip to Mesa Verde, Colorado for Father’s Day to see the ruins of the Native American cliff dwellings. The ruins are amazing. For hundreds of years these cliff dwellings existed undisturbed and undiscovered in the high desert canyons of southwestern Colorado.

There are over 4000 ruins, 600 of them are in the cliffs.

Know one knows where the inhabitants came from or where they went, we only know that at one point in history hundreds of thousands of people lived and thrived in these cities built on top of and in the sheer desert cliffs. It was quite a hike to go down to see the ruins and I can’t imagine trying to raise a family there. But this is where hundreds of thousands of people called home.

Imagine a sheer cliff of red rock and half way down is a cave with a city inside. Imagine raising a family with babies, toddlers and exuberant teenagers in a cave in a cliff.  Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans did just that.

“Split-Level History. Mesa-top and Alcove Living. Although the Puebloan used the cliff alcoves throughout the entire time they lived in Mesa Verde, the cliff dwellings themselves were not build until the final 75 – 100 years of occupation. For over 600 years these people lived primarily on the mesa tops.

Of the 4000 ruins within the park, only 600 are cliff dwellings. All of these cliff dwellings were built and occupied between A.D. 1200 and 1300.”

Here are some of the photos I took on my trip:



6 Responses to Mesa Verde – Ancient Native American Home

  1. barlow says:


  2. OOOOOhhhh….pretty pictures, Janet! I love this post. You are so right about our preconceived ideas of what a place we have never been is like. I have always wanted to go to Mesa Verde. Do they allow you to walk inside the dwellings? I heard it was restricted now. Isn’t it interesting to think about living there? I never had wondered about the baby/toddler danger issue until you mentioned that. Yikes! I think I am going to have nightmares about it… 🙂

    Someday I need to take my family down and see that cool place. Until then, thanks for sharing photos (and I love your dad’s T-Shirt!)

  3. Barlow, quite true if living for protection from something or if you wanted to keep your teenagers at home, but I wouldn’t want to be the one to go for water or haul a bunch of kids to the neighboring city.

    Mormonsoprano, Thanks! You can hike to the dwellings and even climb down a ladder into a room. It is pretty interesting and well worth the trip. I would suggest a cooler month than mid summer.

  4. Nice article Janet. Thanks.

    My wife and I took my kids to Mesa Verde when they were young. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s simply amazing how they built so high up in the cliffs. Fascinating! I love your dad’s t-shirt. Hope I’m that fit when I’m 86!

  5. Hi Shayne,

    Welcome to my blog. Thanks for your comment. I took a look at your grandparent blog and it looks like it could be developed into a fun place with great ideas. Mesa Verde is an amazing place.

    As for my dad, everyone wishes they were in as great shape as he is when they hit his age. He had ten children and tons of grandchildren. He’d be the one to interview for your blog.

    I never made the connection between you and Heather. It is fun to realize she is your daughter. She is amazing.

  6. Bill Bartmann says:

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

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