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“Manitou Cliff Dwellings” in Manitou Springs, CO

I had a bunch of things on my Colorado bucket list, but I didn’t know the Dwellings were in the area until we got there. We were checking in, and while salivating over the brochure buffet, we came across one for the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. IMMEDIATEDLY I wanted to do it, as they reminded me of the ones I was supposed to see out West on my road trip.  Bummed I missed them, I thought “Hey, full circle moment, at least I get to see something like them.”

We had done so much already up to this point of the day; I wasn’t sure if we had gas left in our tanks to do “one more thing.” The morning had been dedicated to Pikes Peak, then lunch followed by “Garden of the Gods.” But, when you are on vacation, and Craig knows I just keep going like the Energizer Bunny when I am traveling, we finished out the day here.

They were closing in an hour, so we were worried we couldn’t see it fast enough. Again, when you see the brochures, some places and activities seem bigger on paper. Thinking this was maybe a tunnel of homes, a maze of history that was meant to be explored- it wasn’t. It was a small series of homesteads- built into the side of the cave. Still VERY cool, but something was bothering me. Was it real? Did this happen here as it “appears” to be? I don’t know, I feel bad even thinking like this these days. But I have travelled a lot the last 5 years, and I am telling you, the amount of disappointment I feel when I find out something was a remake, a prop, and not authentic… it just feels icky. Maybe it’s just me but seeing an item that existed hundreds of years ago, feet from me, it feels like a cosmic connection with another time. That someone back when, touched this item, used it, and what it means to society now- it’s breathtaking. Example- The Smithsonian. A cornucopia for the historical authenticity, oh it’s just so good!

So, here’s the scoop on the place- the 40-room site was originally located near McElmo Canyon near Mesa Verda. The dwellings were relocated starting in 1904 and completed in 1907 and then opened to the public. They say the ruins date from 800- 1,000 years old. Good news, they are authentic, just relocated! I’ll take it!

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings were really cool to walk through, you felt as if eyes were watching your every twist and turn. Being there alone felt almost ominous, like we were trespassing on sacred land.   I honestly felt it was incredibly spooky. I had my ghost app running to see what would come through, and they were quite chatty. We were the last people of the day, so the flute music seemed loud and clear with each note that danced among the caves. There was no one else to drown out the music, so it was this almost peaceful meditation, like a spell we were falling under while we ventured alone.

Like I said, not that large, maybe takes 45 minutes to walk in and out, more maybe reading every sign. After we had been in and out of each area, we walked down to the gift shop and looked around, bought a soda, and just sat on a bench and chatted while the music played on with the sun setting its orange blanket amongst the rock. It was a beautiful moment, no one around. We videoed my friend Dee Ann to say hello from Colorado and show her where we were, and then headed out for a much-needed night of sleep.

Do you need to see it? Well, it’s cool, a favorite spot for school trips. It was affordable ($12 per person) and doesn’t take a lot of time, so if you need filler between Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, this is for you.  It’s a neat thing to see how they lived long ago, and how much we take for granted now. I am glad we did it for the peace and tranquility it brought at that time of day- I don’t think it would have been half as nice had there been tons of kids screaming and running around. (I mean, where is, right? But you know what I mean). See for yourself next time you’re in the Colorado area.

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