My trip to Mesa Verde National Park didn't go exactly as I had planned.
I visited with my daughter and mother-in-law in June, the 10th in my family's 12 months of national park trips. The iconic Spruce Tree House is closed indefinitely until the park can stabilize the rock around the Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling. We bought tickets for a tour of the Cliff Palace, but then we overslept and missed it.
But I think the alternative was more suitable. The Step House hike was more manageable for my 3-year-old daughter, Saskia, and it didn't force my mother-in-law to attempt any obstacles she might struggle with due to a foot injury that prevents her from balancing in certain positions. It also gave me a chance to examine the Wetherill Mesa's spectacular display of June wildflowers — something I wasn't expecting in such abundance.