The fire is out and the park opens tomorrow so its on to Mesa Verde.
First find a tour with a ranger. The rangers are all very knowledgeable and have interesting stories about the cliff dwellings. Since they live in caves where rocks fall all the time This ranger's story was about prayer sticks. Ask me, most people aren't interested.

We toured Longhouse ruin. It was only one of two that were open because of the recent fire.
Notice the storage areas above the dwellings.
They think the inhabitants put grain etc. in there because the rodents couldn't easily get in.
Imagine carrying water up to this place from below.
The fire in August 2000 left its scars above Longhouse.
It takes a long time to grow anything after a fire in a land with no water.
A reconstructed pithouse.
No, its not that kind of pit.
The basic features of a pit house were a living room, and a firepit with
an air deflector, an antechamber (may hold storage bins), and a sipapu.

Almost everything has burned in the last 30 years in the park. Fire is a natural occurance and most here were started by lightning.
Dust from the most recent fires. There is no longer any vegetation to hold the dry topsoil so it is blowing away.
Can you identify that shadow in the distance on the left?

Great Sand Dunes N.P.

Wolf Creek Pass

Little Wild Horse

Trail of Ancients &
Natural Bridges N.P.