Road Trip Day 6: Mesa Verde II

The original plan was to hike around this area today but it was upwards of 90 degrees with no shade. It was a perfect day to do nothing. We spent time in the shops and took a short drive. Most of the mesa has been burnt to the ground by fires started by lightening. It is sad. The trees around here took hundreds of years to grow just 10 or 20 feet and are not likely to make a comeback. It looks dead everywhere. But our tour guide said the fire is not the death of a mesa, just a stage in its evolution. If you look closer it is teeming with life. Just below the grey dead branches the wildflowers are blooming everywhere. And there are over 200 species of birds here! _DSC2093_cropped

Our guide also told us is that Mesa Verde is just a small side show of the ruins protected by the park. The area open to the public displays about 40 total sites out of 4800 ruins they have actually found! So the fires have not done nearly as much damage as it would at first appear though the damage covers 3/4 of Mesa Verde itself.

In the afternoon we took a long nap in our room. We went on a nice walk to an overlook of The Balcony House ruins and Soda Canyon. We ate dinner at the delicious restaurant up here again, a little later this time. At about 11:30 we drove away from the lights of the lodge and did a bit of star gazing. It is so dark and the sky is so clear you can see everything. And the temperature is still 72 degrees so it was a really nice evening.

Vacation Workout 6:  I took today off.

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