After leaving the Four Corner Monument, we entered Colorado!
After one hour more, we got to Mesa Verde NP and the landscape changed quite a lot! We were not in the desert any more. Driving in the US is kind of funny: the landscape changes dramatically and then stays the same for hours and hours driving, and then, it changes again...
Mesa Verde NP is the most important archeological site in North America. It is composed of many towns created by ancient Puebloans. Those guys were the ancestors of all the Native American tribes Europeans found when they got to the South West.
The archeological sites are quite far from the entrance. On the way to get there, there are some beautiful view points. This is the highest:
Can you see how dramatic the change of landscape is?!
A bit further and we got to the first houses in cliffs. Quite nice if you like ruins!! (I do! :)
Before living in cliffs in little towns, they lived in pit houses in the top of the mesas:
This is a really beautiful Pueblo in the middle of a cliff... I wonder how they could get there from the mesa or from the canyon they were in...
And this is the most important Pueblo in all the National Park: the Cliff Palace.
We bought tickets to get down there and walk next to the buildings with a ranger. The view was much better down there. It also showed to us how difficult it was to access!!
After one hour of tour down in the Palace, we came back to the top of the mesa and the view was really good:
Afterward, on our way back, there were some other small Pueblos and houses in cliffs. Two interesting ones now:
When we got to the entrance of the park, it was already dusk. So, dinner in a road restaurant and 5 hours drive in the middle of the night and in the middle of nowhere to get to the Grand Canyon!!