Pueblo Alto

Pueblo Alto is one of four back country hikes (the others are Pueblo Peñasco, Tsin Kletsin and Wijiji). There are indications that Alto was occupied seasonally and may have had particular ceremonial significance (high volume of broken pottery). Many road segments lead from Alto.

Behind Kin Kletso, you will find the trailhead to Pueblo Alto (register at the Visitors Center for a permit). To reach the top of the canyon wall, the trail climbs up a crack. This isn’t rock climbing, but it isn’t an easy stroll, either. The people to the right are about halfway up. The top person is at the bottom of the crack which goes 90 degrees to the right at that point.

Here we are at the top of the crack looking roughly towards Pueblo Peñasco. Below is a picture of a carved hole, the purpose of which is arguable. Similar holes/pits occur elsewhere. There is one at Chimney Rock.

This is up at New Alto. Below, you are looking at a "core and veneer" wall (coming out towards you); see how the base is wider than the main part of the wall — makes sense. However, it looks to me like the top of the wall got wider again; strange. Notice the use of more small stones on the right than on the left; I imagine this says something about time of construction. The white and/or the red you see may be residual plaster.

You can probably make out the reddish bands on the segment of wall to the right — plaster? Straight down from there you’ll see the slightest curve of an unexcavated kiva and then, closest to the bottom of the photo, a vent for that kiva.

Now we are at "old" Alto looking towards New Alto. This is a double wall enclosing the plaza (makes me think of moats — not at all likely).

If that isn’t more red plaster across the plaza, there must be some kind of lichen that turns things red.

I’m standing at a corner of Alto (roughly northeast, I think). A path around Alto breaks the photo. The wall in the foreground has probably been stabilized — this at least means capped with modern concrete; I don’t know if it implies any reconstruction. The rest of the wall is a puzzle; it seems wider than the ruin wall; is in modern or original? Could this have enclosed some other space (gardens? another greathouse?)?

Below, we are looking across a number of rooms (including a kiva) and in the middle of the horizon is Fajada Butte.

Alto seems to be at the top of the world. Look at those great clouds in that magnificent sky (again we are looking towards New Alto).

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The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness. — John Muir 1838-1914