It’s been an amazing weekend, as we continued our exploration of the ancient ruins of the Anasazi here in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado and the Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico.
There is an incredible amount of well-preserved cliff dwellings, pit houses, and temples in Mesa Verde (over 6,000 ruins in the 55,000 acres, of which 600 are cliff dwellings that were inhabited) that take you right back in time if you allow yourself to immerse in the energy and receive the whispers flowing through the doorways of these sacred sites.
If you’re interested in exploring amazing archeological sites of peoples who have an important role in our lives, Mesa Verde is recognized as “one of the premier historic destinations in the world” and is “the only U.S. park dedicated to human culture.”
You’ll find it quite special, I think.
And if you do go, please make sure to do one of the tours so you can actually step inside one of the ancient villages and feel what it was like.
There are three you can explore in this way.
Spruce Tree House is open all year, although right now is closed due to falling rock.
The other two are seasonal.
Cliff Palace is open to tour 5/27 – 9/11 and Balcony House is open 4/10 – 10/29.
We were excited to be arriving here just as Balcony House has recently opened, as it also is considered one of the most intimate and adventurous tours at the park.
Adventurous because it may challenge people with fear of heights and small spaces, since you descend a 100-foot staircase into the canyon, climb up several ladders, including a 32-foot one at start, crawl through a 12-foot and 18-inch wide tunnel, and then climb up another 60 feet on ladders and stone steps.
(These two photos were taken of me by Dave, as we were ascending the last ladder out of the Balcony House. Look at the incredible light coming down on me and across, creating a cross. Something was activated here within me by my physical visitation.)
The climbing and crawling will bring you into a more intimate connection with the 40-room dwelling with two kivas, which are sacred ceremonial chambers of the Anasazi.
I strongly connect with the kivas and constantly find myself being drawn to them most.
Balcony House is the only cliff dwelling that also has a protective tunnel to access it. This was the only way in, but they discovered it was created later in time, after they’d been living there for years. This indicates that for some reason, they had the need to protect themselves from the outside. It is not clear as to what may have caused this change.
Was it a change in social threat? Were they needing to protect their valuable water resources? What made this small village of about 30-35 people feel the need to close themselves off from the outside world?
Balcony House is where we visited on Saturday, taking the one-hour guided tour – although we had an amazing and passionate tour guide/park ranger who went well over time sharing – which was quite amazing.
I just kept receiving flashes of the people living in the dwelling going about their daily lives.
There is even a piece of wall art that is still intact inside one of the rooms that mirrors the snow capped mountain peaks that are in the distance just across the canyon of their expansive vista from this home and sacred site.
From there we had lunch and then explored the six mile Mesa Top Loop road that takes you to twelve sites along paved trails and includes an interpretative guide with wonderful information about each.
Here you’ll explore at your own leisure the pit houses, surface dwellings, and cliff dwelling overlooks, including amazing views where 12 cliff dwellings at once can be seen.
(Look in the alcoves and between the crevices of the canyon walls to find them in the photos.)
Highlights include Square Tower House, House of Many Windows, Sun Point Overlook, views of Cliff Palace from Sun Point, Fire Temple, and Sun Temple.
The pit houses give you an intimate look and up close feel for the kivas as well and show you what life was like living below the Earth before they began building the cliff dwellings in the sides of the canyon.
You can’t get inside of the Sun Temple, but you can look through windows and from a rock behind I was able to reach up and get snaps of some of the inside layout.
We ended our day doing the Spruce Canyon Trail loop, which takes you down into the canyon and along the edge behind Spruce Tree House. A way to connect with how it would have been for these people, as they ventured from their dwellings to gather, hunt, explore…
And yesterday we made our way over to the Aztec Ruins National Monument that takes you just across the border into New Mexico, since we’re near the Four Corners.
Our RV host had highly recommended these ruins and we were glad we went, as they were truly remarkable.
The name is misleading, as these are not ruins of the Aztec, but of the ancestral Pueblo people (Anasazi) who lived here centuries before the Aztec empire prospered. The ruins were named by settlers inspired by popular histories about Cortez’s conquest of Mexico and thinking that the Aztec built these structures.
The grounds are huge and sprawling with varied rooms, living areas, kivas, storage and burial rooms.
You begin the self guided tour at the Great Kiva, which has been partially restored to look like what it might have been like in height of this thriving civilization.
You are able to walk through some of the rooms, crouching through the small doorways and getting a chance to see what it would have been like living in them.
There is a long corridor of dark rooms you can also explore that are thought to be the storage and burial rooms.
They connect to and look out on living and community areas that are closed by glass to preserve them yet allow you to peer through on what it would have been like.
In one case part of the original mat still hangs in the same place it once did, as the doorway covering.
You can even still see the original ceilings inside.
In this dark succession of rooms is where I really felt the energy shift. There was a heaviness in my chest, heart, and throat I felt the entire time walking through these sunless rooms that lightened as soon as we stepped back up and out.
It’s quite intense to be in the energy of these sites and it is reminiscent of walking the temple grounds in Peru, Mexico, and even Egypt.
There are similarities to connect dots across civilizations, including how they build to align with the Sun.
Every step of our days in exploration of these sacred sites was potent, as we walked with intent and honor of these people, retrieving the ancient parts of ourselves that are still alive and carried within us.
I remarked to Dave how interesting it is that our life is somewhat mirroring these ancient peoples who were nomads that migrated to find homes to set up their villages where the land supported them with the resources needed to begin agriculture and create home bases centered around their spiritual beliefs and connected to the Earth and Cosmos.
I love that the weekend started with sightings of the wild horses and ended with mule deer just steps away from our RV site to greet us back home.
I haven’t gone into too much detail here of the personal experiences, as it’s just too much to expound upon, plus I believe that the best way to explore the energies are via your own heart and intuition.
While we have read and have been told a lot of information about these peoples, truly we find what makes the most sense by what resonates with our souls.
We have latent memories we can recall if engaged.
But I wanted to provide an overview of things so that you can then explore the photos yourself and see where they take you and what they bring up within your own ancient heart and soul.
I took tons of photos, but can’t possibly share them all here, so I only chose those that felt most important to include. (still quite a bit though)
We ended our weekend visiting the historic downtown of Durango that is lined with shops, galleries, museums, breweries and brewpubs, and boutique hotels. It’s best known for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which we saw, but did not take.
This is a heritage railway, which travels from Durango to the historic mining town of Silverton, Colorado on steam-powered trains with rolling stock dating back to the 1920s and before.
We took in a late lunch, finding a couple of vegan options at the Diamond Belle Saloon that gives you a feel of stepping back in time as well – a very different time, mind you, than the ancient Anasazi ruins will take you too. But a bit of nostalgic history nonetheless. It’s revered as one of the most famous original ragtime piano bars in the Wild West and the waitresses (dressed as costumed dance hall girls) and bartenders are costumed so that the Old West comes alive. It is connected to the 140 year old Strater Hotel and you’ll find museum items throughout both to make your time there feel more authentic.
Durango is nestled in the Animas River Valley surrouned by the San Juan Mountains and we decided to take a stroll along the Animas River Trail to complete our day walking next to the rolling river and rapids, as we reflected on our time and talked about the remarkable things we’d seen and how they remind us to remember.
Or, as the literature we read at the Atec Ruins said:
“The People would ‘remember to remember’ their relationship to the natural order of the universe.”
I loved the information on two of the pages of the guide book so I photographed them to share them here, as they expound a bit on “resonance” and “the sharing” of these Ancient Ones so that you can feel into things more and allow your imagination to take you back, retrieve, and then embody what YOU remember.