Monday, August 1, 2016

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

While my father-in-law was playing in a golf tournament, my mother-in-law, Judy, joined us in exploring. We visited the Manitou Cliff Dwellings first. These were stone dwellings built into an overhanging cliff by the mysterious Anasazi. The buildings have been recreated or restored and visitors can walk through the rooms. They were quite interesting.






It was fun to explore the connecting rooms, but impossible to imagine entire families actually living in them! There was also a small building created to look like the huts these ancient people built on top of mesas, where they lived during the summer while grazing their sheep. The outside was made of adobe and the roof of sticks covered with clay.
There were also grinding stones, called metates, built into the floor. This one tiny building had seven metates, so grinding corn was clearly a social event!
I was interested in all the plants and flowers of the landscaping, They were all native plants and were carefully labelled with the name and the Indian medicinal uses of each plant.




A century plant in front of the dwellings was in rare bloom. These succulents, related to yucca and agave, only bloom every 15 to 30 years at the very end of their life cycle. The blooms are huge and weird and just very cool!



The cliff dwellings were fun and interesting and made us think about the people who built them. What were their lives like? What would they think of us clambering around their homes today? This place was well worth a stop.

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