Dale and I took off from our camp around 10 am. Our destination was Chaco Canyon and the ruins of the Chacoans. We knew that for about 20 miles we would be on dirt roads. As you know, we are use to dirt roads. We drove up to Thoreau and through the little town up Hwy. 371 to Crownpoint. We didn’t go into Crownpoint but turned off to the right on Hwy 57 until we came to the sign to turn left to Chaco Canyon. This dirt road was anything but dirt! Mostly solid boulder rock. It was rough going, over cattle guards and washes. The landscaped was fenced on one side and so very desert.
20 miles of this!!!
We stopped here to have lunch on the covered picnic tables they provided. They had nice restrooms and water. Of course we went into the visitor center. I purchased a Chaco Canyon National sticker for our collection and a book by Tony Hillerman about the area. Dale found trails where we could take Morgan with us. She just couldn’t go on the trails to the ruins. Our first hike and stop was the Una Vida ruins just beyond the visitors center.
At Una Vida there were 150 rooms and 5 kivas.
View of Fjada Butte so prominent in the valley. Visitor’s center to the left. To get to all the ruins you have to drive down the canyon. Then you hike! The Chaco people didn’t make it easy for us to check out their digs!
Next came Hugo Pavi. We didn’t stop here as we just couldn’t wait to get to the biggest pueblo, Pueblo Bonita. Look at the
We also passed by the Chetro Ketl so now we have a big excuse to come back here. We already want to because there are some trails we want to hike to other ruins that will take time.
I can not explain the feeling inside of me walking where people walked 1000’s years ago. Looking at how they lived and what they built just blows my mind. The ruins here in Chaco Canyon are 2 to 3 stories tall. They learned how to reinforce the walls to build higher. We also look at the area and see nothing that would allow someone to live here. It is dry and hot in the summer months and cold in the winter months. We didn’t see any water. Since they didn’t have horses that we know of or wheels, they still had roads and used timber to build with and keep the fires going. It is said they traveled 50 to 60 miles to get timber – like 250,00 logs. Of course, this area may have looked different back then.
The area was excavated in the 1920’s by National Geographic Society. Una Vida is one of the sites not excavated. In the 1800’s looters came and didn’t really understand the history they were destroying and stealing.
I am going to end here or this post will be huge. Next Pueblo Bonito and our hike up this mountain you are looking see in this last photo.