Last summer we attempted to visit Mesa Verde National Park but wildfire smoke and Covid prevented us from seeing anything. It was a big disappointment… so this summer we decided to circle back for a second look.
Mesa Verde is known for its nine-hundred year old Puebloan communities built into cliffs along a mountain range. I had seen photos of these ancient buildings on the front of our Benchmark atlas and always wanted to visit in person.
Although Mesa Verde was much busier than last year, we had a perfect day to drive through the park and witness these beautiful structures up close.
Stephen and I never set out to visit ancient Puebloan sites but as we were driving south to our next campground we passed by Chimney Rock..a newly designated National Monument near Pagosa Springs, Colorado and decided to explore. It required a lot of climbing but we discovered more interesting buildings and views.
When we crossed the border into New Mexico we saw a point of interest sign for the Santa Rosa de Lima ruins. We expected to see another Puebloan site but instead discovered the remains of a Catholic Church built by Spanish settlers circa 1734. I spotted the picturesque building in the distance and had to stop for a photo. It was beginning to rain and lightning was in the distance but I snapped a few pictures before the thunder began to roar.