When we woke, everything was wet and dripping. Mist hung around in wisps and swirls. Moving about like specters were several deer. Breakfast was coked, served, and eaten. There was no time to allow the tents to dry before they were packed away.
The drive would be up and over the Continental Divide, crossing the Rocky Mountains. It would be through Wolfe Creek Pass, 10,850 feet high. On the decent, we came across an accident site. On a sharp U turn, several yards of guide rail was missing. We stopped to see what had happened. A semi-trailer truck had gone over the mountainside unable to make the sharp turn. A man and his daughter were in the vehicle. The daughter was thrown out and at a hospital, but the father had ridden the truck to the valley below and had not survived. Unable to assist with anything, we climbed back into the vans.
The drive was to be another short one, only 150 miles to Mesa Verde, Colorado. It was a tall mesa that houses the cliff dwellings of the Anasazi clinging to the sides like mud wasp nests. The road to the dwellings and to the camp site, wound its way up the side of the cliff. The twisting drive was on a narrow mccadam surface with a small berm before a vehicle would drive off the road and fall over the mesa onto the prairie below. On the other side was the perpendicular rocky cliff that rose high above the vehicles.
We drove to a series of level spots near the bath houses and set up the tents. They had been packed when they were still wet and needed to dry before they molded. Trees and grass covered the top of the mesa. Camp was set up quickly and the tents dried in the warm breeze. We drove to tour the cliff dwellings. Protected by a large cliff overhang, the buildings were still preserved and well cared for. The buildings of the park site were homes and beehive shaped kivas.
We spent the afternoon climbing through the buildings, trying to imagine what living here would have been like. Tired, we were all glad to eat our evening meal and settle into our warm sleeping bags. The night air of the warm prairie chilled at night.