We enjoyed the short drive to Mesa Verde National Park - it's beautiful here, and refreshingly GREEN. After we found a campsite for tonight, we had a picnic lunch and set out to tour the ruins.
We saw Spruce Tree House first, a self-guided tour that got us geeked out for our next two guided tours: Cliff Palace and then Balcony House. We were so impressed with how well-preserved they all are. I even smacked my head (ouch) on an original balcony, made by prehistoric hands. It almost made the headache cool.
They kept suggesting all different reasons that prehistoric people would have moved to the cliffs - water, shade, defense, etc. We are pretty sure that it was for the view, and are now looking for cliff real estate.
Our favorite part about the guided tours, however, was probably the old people that were on them with us. Weird, outspoken southerners are our favorite.
And Colby thinks our tour guide was "full of crap." (The ranger who led our second tour kept insisting that there is no "truth" about these prehistoric people, all we can do is conjecture - and then he'd tell us these dramatically livid stories about how life WAS back then, as if he knew for sure.) For example: do you really KNOW that this circular, underground room with benches along the walls was ceremonial? How can you say that for certain? Cause Colby and I are pretty sure they filled it with water and used it as a jacuzzi.
The deer in the campground here are so tame it's sort of freaky. There was one in the campsite we wanted when we showed up - we couldn't even scare it away, even by clapping and shouting and stomping toward it. Colby has enjoyed honking at all the deer he sees along the road. There is something wrong with this situation.