The Old Timers were gone but their cliff dwelling homes remained. It's all there (what the NPS allows the citizens to see) in Mesa Verde National Park.
Brother Mike and Robin survived the obstacle course of Balcony House Ruin. Climbing up a 32 foot ladder? No sweat. A crawl through a narrow twelve foot tunnel? No biggie. A very angled uphill ascent along an old trail? Bring it on! These are two tough Long Islanders.
Now the ultimate question still remains concerning Mesa Verde. Why did the residents wander away from their pads around 1300 AD?
Glad you asked.
The Eggheads have many theories: drought, degradation of resources, the threat of invasion from not-so-nice tribes and the "I'm tired of looking at the same old Mesa. Let's go somewhere else" theory.
They are all wrong. It's all about the beer.
Here's my thoughts.
The Ancient One brewmasters had a few years of disappointing barley and hops harvest. Their beer production was nil. They needed to resort to trade to score a few good IPA's. The cliff dwelling elders sent the young bucks off to exchange pottery beer mugs for the liquid itself from the southerly faraway brewmasters. Unfortunately, the youngsters drank all the brew while journeying back to their cliff dwelling clans.
Here's how the sad arrival scene went.
Cliff Dwelling Elder. "OY! The beer is gone? You didn't leave us any? Are you stupid in the brain?"
An Elders meeting was convened. The tribes needed a solution to this beer dilemma.
The wisest Ancient One thought for a moment and exclaimed. "Let's not me schlimazels. Let's move to the brew! Besides, I'm tired of looking at the same old Mesa anyway. In a few centuries, this place will make a great National Park."
And that's how it all went down.
In photo number one, our brave New York explorers discover Spruce Tree Ruin.
Final Photo. An explorer must eat a proper breakfast before taking on the challenges of the ruins. We got our fill at the Durango Diner. That's Gary the owner and all around nice guy too.