It's been a bit of time since we checked in on our journey through the Abandoned Lands, my theme for our summer field studies in the geology and archaeology of the Colorado Plateau. In the previous post of the series we were looking into the abandonment of Chaco Canyon after 300 years of cultural dominance. The reasons may have been meteorological and geological: the land was worn out and droughts had intensified by 1150 AD. On this day, we had traveled a hundred miles north to Durango, and over a series of foothills of the San Juan Mountains to arrive at Mesa Verde National Park. It was our first look at the 'fertile crescent' of the Ancestral Pueblo people. And a place that held out more than a century after the influence of Chaco Canyon had faded away.
A programming note: Our exploration of Mesa Verde had one little quirk that I don't think has ever happened in all my journeys in the digital age...I left my camera sitting in my tent back at camp! These pictures were kindly provided by Mrs. Geotripper.