The children had been begging for a trip to Mesa Verde for months. Jeffrey is obsessed with all ancient cultures, while Eleanor and William just love sleeping in a tent. Over Memorial Day weekend, we decided to oblige them. For those of you who don’t know, Mesa Verde National Park is home to one of the oldest and best preserved collection of Native American buildings, most dating from between 500-1200 A.D. In my opinion, living in the West and skipping Mesa Verde is like going to Peru and skipping Macchu Picchu.
Here is the basic theme of the entire park:
Yes, let us speculate. Because the Ancestral Puebloan people (not “Anasazi” anymore) kept no written records, everything we know about them is 90% conjecture.
And what does the park feature?
NATIVE AMERICAN DANCERS!
PLUS, THE WORLD’S MOST DISGUSTING MUSEUM EXHIBIT!
This looks more like old cheese than bread. Brian and I initially saw the “Chewed Bread” exhibit when we last visited Mesa Verde in 2001. We thought it so bizarre that it became a running gag for the rest of that trip . . . and for the rest of our marriage, really. Whenever we see a museum exhibit, diorama, illustration, or film that depicts native-type people grinding grain, one of us leans over and says, “Mmmmm, chewed breeeaaaad.” And the other is obliged to shudder. It’s good to see some things never change. (Oh! Oh! And notice the alternate recipe for “Chewed Bread Rolls” in the upper left corner. Shudder.)
The kids were THRILLED with this trip, although Jeff may have been occasionally disappointed at times — I think he thought our explorations would be something more along the lines of Indiana Jones and the Metate of Doom. I didn’t sleep a wink the entire time we were there (can’t sleep in a draft, which is what tents do best), so I’m more than a little happy to be home. Onwards to the washing machine, O campfire-scented clothes!
Oh, and keep in mind that the Ancestral Puebloans did all of the above with no pack animals, no metal tools, and without the wheel. Yeah. They never got around to inventing the wheel. Chew on that.