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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Exploring Mesa Verde National Park

In the nearly ten years I’ve lived in Colorado I’ve tried to make it to the southwest portion of the state. But, that distance is actually quite a long trip. For people who live in smaller states out east who possibly don’t understand how long the drive is, it takes nearly seven hours to get down there from Denver – that’s about the same as if you drove from Boston to Baltimore. Thankfully I was coming from the west on my road trip back to Denver.

Mesa Verde National Park was to be my last stop on the Grand Circle of parks on the Colorado Plateau. I was quite excited to finally see some of the cliff dwellings of the Ancient Puebloans that were discovered by ranchers settling the area over one hundred years ago. On the other hand though, since it was still winter in the high country, I was disappointed to find some of the more popular sections, like the Balcony House, closed due to the snow cover.

It was really no bother though as I was able to see some cool ruins up close still on a guided tour to the Spruce Tree House (above and left). The tour guide, albeith a little off kilter, made the tour a lot of fun and was quite informative. The highlight though was the ruins, but unfortunately they’re pretty well roped off to protect them for future generations. I can certainly appreciate this and was happy to get as close as we did, which was right up on the ledges of the structures. The rest of the exploration would be left for it’s touristy cousin over in Manitou Springs.
Despite the closure of the two biggest ruins, I think I came at the right time of year as the crowds were really quite small. I can only imagine the hordes of people that flock to the park in the warmer summer months when the kids are out of school. I think I would’ve gone bonkers then trying to read the displays and enjoy the museum and ruins otherwise. Plus, I think the wildlife would’ve been scared away with the extra people in the summer. I have nothing but a guess to base this on, but I was certainly happy to spot a few grazing deer while driving the Mesa Loop in the park.

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  1. A Look Ahead To 2016 | Jason's Travels - January 12, 2016

    […] As an exchange for going with me, I promised my girlfriend a trip to southwestern Colorado to see Mesa Verde. I’ve been before, but she hasn’t and has always wanted to go. So we’re packing […]

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