Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chaco Canyon NHP

Yesterday we went northwest to the historical center of Pueblo and Navajo Indian culture, Chaco Canyon.  The Puebloan Indians lived there from AD 850 to 1250.  It is awesome to see the partial structures that remain and imagine the work it took to carry thousands of small stones and larger rocks, stack them in straight lines or graceful curves.

This area of New Mexico was actually an urban center for ceremony and trade in the prehistoric Four Corners area.  There is architecture that is different from earlier area buildings and engineering projects.  They used astronomy, possibly for both religious and agricultural purposes.  The people developed dry land farming in the canyon.

We only toured a few of the pueblos there, some are too far for my hiking abilities for a one-day trip and the sun was heating up the canyon although the wind remained comfortably cool.  Of course the camera battery died on the first photo but we got a few photos with my iPhone and Ron's iPad. 
Fajada Butte, our first sight of Chaco Canyon

The building walls are about 18" thick and had straight corners
Lots of small, flat rocks form the walls
Ron admiring the straight walls and square corners
One of the large Kivas
Another view of the large Kiva.  See the small stairway to get down into it?
Part of the Elk herd that now inhabits the canyon
The photos are just a sampling of what you see below the towering rock walls of the canyon with the arroyo cutting deeply through the middle of it.  It is definitely worth the 20+ miles of gravel road to drive to this window of the past.