About 1,400 years ago, long before Europeans explored North America, a group of people living in the Four Corners region chose Mesa Verde for their home. For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished here, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Then, in the late A.D. 1200s, in the span of a generation or two, they left their homes and moved away. Mesa Verde National Park preserves a spectacular reminder of this ancient culture.

On Saturday I visited Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. The only guided tour into the cliff dwellings still open (for the season) was Cliff Palace.  We paid our three bucks, drove the 30 miles up a windy road and met Ranger Wolf.  To get to Cliff Palace you had to navigate some pretty steep steps down, and on the way out three ten foot ladders through a tiny crevice in the rocks. I was a little unsure if I wanted to do this (truth be told my knees are still aching) but I am so glad I sucked it up and did it.  Check it out:

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The lives of these Ancestral Pueblo people was focused on food, procreation, survival.  To get food and water they had to climb up the cliff, often with a jug of water balanced on their head and baby strapped to their back while doing it. Women lived to be around 24 and most died hemorrhaging in child birth. Men hung around to about 33 but often died with compressed spines and arthritis from the daily beating (literally) of making bricks and building and farming and hunting. This is  Colorado so winters are fierce. It’s not unusual for the temperature to dip below zero and stay there. This cliff dwelling kept them alive. Imagine spending six months with your relatives in a “house” the size of your living room? That’s what they did every winter. To survive.

Here’s my Tuesday:

This morning I worked out on my Octane Elliptical Trainer while watching last week-end’s episode of SNL on my Apple TV via Hulu Plus.

I got a little miffed at the speed of my internet connection – the show buffered once.

For lunch I nuked some left over spaghetti from last night.

Last night I opened a jar of spaghetti sauce, dumped it in a pan with some ground beef and boiled some noodles on my Kitchen Aid gas range. I put the dirty dishes in my Bosch whisper quiet dishwasher.

I just had to put on a sweatshirt because my radiant heat is programmed to shut off at 8:00am and my home office got a little chilly.

I’m listening to KINK FM radio (a Portland, Oregon station) on my Internet radio while I write this.

I’ll probably live to be 70.

I just noticed I could really use a manicure.

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