On our way to Southern Colorado we stopped to see the Aztec Ruins National Monument in Northern New Mexico adjacent to the Animas River. This site came into existence during the late 1,000s and was built by Ancestral Puebloan people. This site is large and was well constructed. Visitors can walk through public buildings; smaller living structures and ceremonial building that rivaled those of Chaco Canyon. The Great Kiva in the West Ruin plaza has been rebuilt and is not to be missed.
By the late 1200s the Pueblo people left the site, as was the case with many sites in the “Four Corners” region. The reason for this is still under study and debate that includes extended drought, religious differences, and invading Indians from other areas. It is known that these people moved south to better water areas including Texas, Southern New Mexico and Arizona.
We settled into our Motel in Cortez Colorado, close to Mesa Verde. Our timing was excellent and the cultural resources of this National Park are outstanding. We have long wanted to walk through the Cliff Palace site, but it was closed to fortify some of its structures to ensure public safety. We were able to see it from a distance and Sharon took some good photos.