We continued the journey through the San Juans on the million dollar highway, which is one of the most beautiful mountain passes I have been through, on our way to Durango. By the way in Durango there is an excellent restaurant (called Durango Brewpub) which served excellent food and excellent beer too. I will give fair warning though the chilli beer was certainly hotter than expected!
OK, so the next location was extremely interesting, but not for the geology, the location? Mesa Verde national park (picture below of the Cliff Palace). Mesa Verde is the ancestral location of a number of current Native Indian peoples. The fantastic thing about these people is that sometime in the 1100s/1200s they started to move into these cliff dwellings underneath the overhangs (as pictured below) in response to changing environmental conditions. These really are worth a visit and I would thoroughly recommend the guided tours by the national park rangers to Cliff Palace, Balcony House and the Long House. During these you will learn a lot about the peoples who lived there, why they moved down and how they survived. Credit must really be given to the rangers who are very knowledgeable and really seemed to care about the location and the people. We were lucky to have three different perspectives from three different rangers with three different backgrounds: the first an archaeologist by training, the second an anthropologist, and the third a historian.