Mesa Verde is a special place whose uniqueness I could've never understood before visiting. The monstrous plateau and breath-taking wilderness are incredible enough, but the ancient dwellings hiding among the cliffs are the most impressive aspects.
Taylor and I were a little too late to get tickets for a tour of the largest collection of dwellings, The Cliff Palace, but we were able to get tickets for the second largest tour, The Balcony House. Even though it was smaller, it cannot be less impressive.
Our National Park Ranger —whose name Taylor and I regretfully cannot recall—was the most knowledgeable and experienced that we’ve had on any national park tour yet. His knowledge of the dwellings and the Native Americans of that time and place was quite impressive. Walking through these structures and hearing the National Park Service's best guess as to how the people constructed these homes and lived is surreal. There is so much that no one knows, including why they came and why they left. Mystery abounds in these dwellings.
For those too late to claim a spot on a tour or for those who prefer walking at their own pace, there are several areas that do not require a guided tour. Taylor and I leisurely explored the remains of The Step House. We saw ancient corn cobs, ceremony rooms called kivas, and recreated pit-houses.
No matter what dwelling you are able to visit, take your camera and your curiosity.