Things have been a little quiet on the blog for a number of reasons. One of which is I have been getting asked to do more social media only campaigns which means I have been more active on my social media channels than on the blog. Another reason is that.......My son came home!!!!! We also left for a road trip soon after and ended up visiting Mesa Verde National Park. It has been on my bucket list for years!
After serving a 2 year mission for our church, my son finally came home. We were able to video call him once a week (which was a blessing) but we did not see him (or HUG him) for 2 very long years. I was barely holding it together at the airport. Seeing him and giving him a hug was one of the best feelings.
On the way home from the airport, our van broke down on the freeway. Since there were 6 of us, the tow truck could not give us a ride. We walked on the side of the freeway with all my son's luggage until the next off ramp. Then we walked another mile to the mechanic.
It didn't take long for the mechanic to figure out that our van was dead as a doornail. My favorite quote of the day was when he said "I have to say, you folks are taking this very well." I told him I had my son back after two years and that nothing was going to ruin our day.
We had planned months prior to go on a road trip as soon as he got home. Our other vehicles can't accommodate all 6 of us but we were able to borrow a vehicle from my sister and still go on our trip. We went to Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, and Mesa Verde National Park.
I've written about our experience at Arches before so I won't go into too much detail with that, but I wanted to share with you how amazing Mesa Verde is and why it should be added to your bucket list.
Visiting Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is in the southwest corner of Colorado. It is home to many ancient sites of the Ancestral Puebloan people dating from about 500 AD to 1200 AD and includes the famous cliff dwellings.
The Ancestral Puebloan people first lived on the mesa tops where they farmed. At some point, they moved down into the cliffs. There are several examples of the mesa top villages you can explore (such as Far View Sites) as well as cliff dwellings. It was such a special place!
In order to go inside the cliff dwellings, you will need to purchase a ticket 2 weeks in advance. They are only sold online and they sell out FAST! I hopped on 2 weeks before we were going to be visiting and Balcony House sold out in 2 seconds. I kid you not. I hurried and clicked on Cliff Palace and barely got the last remaining tickets. I was able to go online the next day and get Balcony House. There is also Long House but since I had already spent about $100 on the other tickets, ($8 per person per house) we decided not to visit there.
Since we visited in the off season, there were only 3 cliff dwellings open for tours. But during peak season, there are a couple more options.
Our favorite part of Mesa Verde was visiting Balcony House. It was the most challenging to get to as you had to climb down a ton of stairs and then climb up a 32 foot ladder. It is more intimidating in person than the picture shows.
To exit the cliff dwelling, you have to climb through a 12 foot long tunnel. I am slightly claustrophobic and was very worried about this part. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.
While you could see quite a bit of Mesa Verde in one day if you were smart with your time, I feel like 2 days was perfect. Fall was a BEAUTIFUL time to visit. There were less people and the weather was perfect. If you ever get the chance to visit that part of the US, you should take the time to got to Mesa Verde National Park.
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Happy to see that your son is home safe. I know that makes your "Mama-Heart" so happy! Sorry about your van, though. Mesa Verde looks like a really special place. Glad y'all were still able to go!
Perfect timing on reading this post. I am planning a trip to Mesa Verde next summer, so really good to know about the reservations. Thanks for the tips.
Oh you will love it! Also, it was so sad to see so many families at the visitors center asking where to buy tickets. While you can still view some cliff dwellings without going in, I’m sure they were disappointed they didn’t know beforehand about how the tickets worked.
Have so much fun on your trip!!!
First of all, so very happy for you and your family that you son is home! I absolutely know the feeling when a child is away for that length of time...the reunion is the best for sure! And, thank you so much for sharing your trip to Mesa Verde....what an awesome place to visit and knowing that people made those ruins and lived there puts me in awe of what can be accomplished!
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