Ahh mountain air. Crisp, cool and slightly damp mountain air. Such a nice change from Swamp York City. My hotel in Cortez was only minutes from Mesa Verde so after a nice breakfast (Holiday Inn cinnamon rolls for the win!) I was on my way. To be honest, I’m glad I didn’t know what the drive was like or I might not have done it. It is nerve wracking for someone who doesn’t drive much, but it was so worth it.
As I mentioned, this part of the trip was completely book driven. Without Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series and the friend who recommended it, I’m not sure Mesa Verde would have been on my radar. The anasazi’s cliff dwellings are nothing short of phenomenal, and as someone who grew up on the east coast, the scenery that accompanied them was breathtaking. To be the first person to discover those must have been amazing. It’s sad that so much of the anasazi‘s history has been lost to time.
After exploring the rest of the Mesa Top and the fire damage, I headed out of the park via Durango, Chama (apparently southern Colorado/northern New Mexico is the historic railroad capital. Re-crossing the Continental Divide was super cool, although 160/84/64 east into Taos was a bit scary in the monsoon rains. Side note, who knew New Mexico had monsoon?
I was rewarded after that drive with the amazing site of the Rio Grande, its gorge and the engineering feat that was the bridge. Exploring that with two rabbits was a great end to another long day