Chaco Canyon Part II

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To continue our journey down the canyon road, we came to the largest pueblo in the Chacoan culture. Keep in mind that the Chacoan people lived from the mid-800s and persisted over 300 years. Most of these ruins were built around the AD 800 to 1050. The Pueblo Bonito (Beautiful Town) so named by Lt. James Simpson and his Mexican guid, Carravahal in 1849. Needless to say, this site also has Pueblo, Hopi and Navajo place names.

This is a drawing of what is thought to be what the pueblo looked like back then. As you will see later, our photo’s from up top that mountain behind the pueblo, that this is pretty accurate.

You can see doorways and window. Notice the original wood beams in both walls.

This room was small and totally in the dark. Maybe a storage room.
Here you can see from door way to doorway and get an idea of how many rooms in this house. Remember this is only one segment. There is another like this on the right and about 3 or 4 more segments to the left.

The oldest section of Pueblo Bonito dates from AD 850 to late 900s, and consists of 100 ground-floor and upper-story rooms. They had three to five kiva’s (circular, subterranean, ceremonial rooms).

This is a kiva. The small square stone structure in the middle is the fire box. The rectangle boxes on either side are called pilasters (masonry boxes) that supported the roof.
This is probably the third story or maybe the 4th. Don't know how many rooms are under us.

Beyond the kiva is what is called the plaza. Here is where turquoise beads, pots, pendants and other items were traded.

I have so many more photo’s but I think you can see what this pueblo looks like. I still have to pinch myself that we actually walked here where others a thousand years ago walked. The intricacy in how they built their home – stories high – is incredible. When the excavators worked on this pueblo, they had to remove sand and rocks to get to the many floors. As we walked behind the back wall, we could see another floor below where we walked inside the pueblo. Who knows how many floors are below that. So amazing.

Next, our hike up the mountain to the Pueblo Bonito overlook. This hike also goes around to the back of the mountain to the Pueblo Alto. Next time we will do that hike.

Our climb started here. Yes, we had to go through that crevice. This put us on top of the mountain.
Yep, that is Morgan. She is one rock climbing dog!
That's Dale on the overlook.

On top. As we hiked over the top of the mountain we keep thinking this rock we were walking on had been under water. New Mexico was once all under water. Then we came to what is called shrimp holes. Made us wonder!

Looking down on Pueblo Bonito. Truly awesome!

After hiking 3.2 miles up and then down the mountain our last stop was at the largest kiva, Casa Rinconada.

This butte sits right smack in the middle of the valley.

Fajada Butte

We enjoyed our day here so much we want to come back when we get up north. I hope we can. On our drive back down that dusty, rocky, 20-mile road, there was a “self-serve” jewelry sale. The top of the spool read “Do not take.” “Honesty.” The prices were a bit high for us but their craft was beautiful.

I hope one day you will be able to walk where we have this day!


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