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We left Moab UT and headed southeast for about 140 miles until we reached Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.  The weather was very turbulent, changing from dark and stormy to bright and sunny and then back to stormy.  Aaaah, mountain weather…

As we drove up, up and up into the park, the  fog became so thick that I became a bit apprehensive about being on such a twisty, turney mountain road.  Luckily, we made it safely to the top and the weather cleared so we could see the ancient ruins.

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The sky had cleared enough and the rain/sleet mix had stopped long enough that we decided to do a quick lunch.  MAN – it was COLD!!

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Over 1400 years ago, people known as the Ancestral Puebloans (aka the Anasazi) started building villages and towns in the four corners region of the United States.  During the height of their civilization, the area was more heavily populated with people than today.  They built elaborate towns into protected alcoves in the cliffs.  Families lived in apartment buildings and row houses, kind of like we do in urban areas today.

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Agriculture, basket and pottery making took up much of their time.   They were able to survive and even thrive in this region for about 700 years.

inside-the-ruins-300x225For many years, the disappearance of the Anasazi was a mystery.  Did they all get wiped out by disease or war?  Were they taken away by aliens from outer-space?  Did they enter another dimension?

Archeologists today believe that the Anasazi never actually “left.”  That they are, in fact, still living among us.

“When the cliff dwellers of Mesa Verde left, they traveled south into New Mexico and Arizona, settling among their kin who were already there. Whatever may have happened, some of today’s Pueblo people, and  maybe other tribes, are descendants of the Ancestral Puebloans of Mesa Verde.” – National Park Service & United States Department of the Interior

Next:  Four Corners Monument & Canyon DeChelly National Park