Couples from around the globe are drawn to the southwestern corner of Colorado, to the centuries-old cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde.
Perhaps it’s the spiritual energy of the four corners, the meeting of four states (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico) that draws them to the ruins of the Pueblans.
Certainly, it’s the astonishing beauty of high desert, where scrub meets pinon pine, and where hawks circle over wild horses.
Julie and Todd wright of California, shown here at the ruins, said their trip to Mesa Verde was “remarkable.”
They recall big-sky sunsets and watching horses play over the open range beneath their private balconies.
Ruins at Mesa Verde are remarkably intact, considering they were abandoned around the year 1300. (Pueblans left no written records, so theories of their departure focus on drought, or loss of game.)
Visitors to this national park are transported back generations, seeing how Pueblans lived. There are ceiling stains from cooking fires, the indent of handprints in the soft sandstone, and dozens of circular and rectangular rooms built into cliff alcoves.
But the Wrights remember the wild horses and the landscape most.
There just aren’t many places left offering that kind of western romance. (all photos, courtesy of the Wrights)