This morning, after a delicious ‘hunter’s special’ breakfast at former Seattle residents John and Janelle Kays’ Country Kitchen in Cortez, Colorado, we made our way to Mesa Verde National Park.
Although the Visitor’s Center and Campground are closed for the winter season, MVNP is open all year round. The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum, 20 miles from the park’s entrance, takes over to welcome guests and rangers still lead free daily tours to the well-preserved Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling.
Today our guide was NPS Ranger Craig Westover, who is extremely knowledgeable, highly entertaining and passionate about the cultural significance of this historical site.
While it wasn’t snowing today, Ranger Westover said they continue to lead tours year-round. “Whoever shows up,” said Westover, “we try to accommodate them as best we can.”
Image: NPS Ranger Craig Westover pointing out unique features of Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park. (Julianne G. Crane)