I’ve visited Mesa Verde twice in the past five years. In 1978, it was designated as a World Heritage site. You’d think this place would be in the next Indiana Jones flick. The Cliff Palace has a lost city look. If you’ve trekked here during the summer, it’s worth noting a desert can be a hot place. At face value, that’s Captain Obvious talking. But the heat can punish. I marveled at the size of the dwellings, but I kept coming back to the water problem. It had to be more than a challenge to maintain a reservoir or get water to the dwelling. I wondered, why would someone build cities in the middle of a desert? Less than forty miles away, the mountains tower nearby. Streams and plentiful water. Compared to the desert, paradise awaits. Why would someone settle here? There are multiple theories:
- Climate (hard to say how the world looked hundreds of years ago),
- Warring Tribes,
- Forty Miles is a long trip (it would be like traveling to the moon with today’s technology), and
- Blinders (they’d lived here for seven centuries so why change)
Then, this weekend I caught Spring Training games in Surprise, AZ. Cub fans were out in drove (As a Cardinals fan, I wish they’d stay in the desert but let them have their time in the spotlight). Yeah, lots of homes lined up all in a row. Bustling cities in the middle of the desert. A giant aquifer that supports Phoenix and the other communities. And, it wasn’t that bad. Enjoyable really.
Maybe, the cliff folks just loved the heat. If they’re baseball fans, rainouts would be few and far between.