Test your knowledge of Mesa Verde

DenverPost.com – LIFESTYLES

1. Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906. When were the ruins “discovered”? a) 1874 b) 1888 c) 1892

2. The Cliff Palace is the largest of the cliff dwellings. How big is it? a) as large as a city block b) as long as a football field c) about the size of a school gymnasium

3. About how many archaeological sites have been found in the park? a) 74 b) 649 c) 4,000

4. The park encompasses some 57,000 acres of federally owned land. What size is that in relation to Rocky Mountain National Park? a) one-fifth b) one-third c) two-thirds

5. Ancestral puebloans occupied the Mesa Verde area for about 750 years, from roughly 600 A.D. to 1300 A.D. Why did they leave? a) drought b) war c) religious reasons d) possibly all of the above

6. Square Tower House was originally named a) Peabody House b) Wetherill Manor c) Chapin Chapel

7. The first white man to enter a cliff dwelling was a) a rancher b) a prospector c) a photographer

8. The largest structures were typically built in rock alcoves facing a) north, thus providing shade b) south and east, to capture the sun’s warmth in winter c) west, to gain the maximum amount of daylight

9. The earliest inhabitants of the Mesa Verde region are known to have been excellent a) basketmakers b) potters c) masons d) all of the above

10. Mesa Verde gets about a half-million visitors per year. How popular is it compared with Rocky Mountain National Park? a) much less popular b) somewhat more popular c) just about as popular

ANSWERS: Continue reading

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Links to other museums in the Four Corners states

From the Fort Lewis College Center of Southwest Studies (in Durango, CO):

Links to other museums in the Four Corners states

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Lecture: “Pottery Mound: A Pueblo IV Village in Central New Mexico”

University of New Mexico
Maxwell Museum of Anthropology

Wednesday, March 22, 6:30 pm free

Lecture: “Pottery Mound: A Pueblo IV Village in Central New Mexico.” David Phillips, Curator of Archeology at the Maxwell Museum will describe the Pottery Mound site and current attempts to build on original research. For many years the late Frank Hibben worked at Pottery Mound, uncovering a late prehistoric village with a stunning variety of kiva murals.

Part of the People of the Southwest Lecture Series.

[mjh: Thanks to JimB.]

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ANWR Presentation — Thursday March 16th at 7:00 pm

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Presentation
By Stephen Capra, Christianne Hinks and Chuck Houston

Thursday March 16th at 7:00 pm

Come hear personal stories about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and learn about the latest developments in the fight to save this pristine area. The presentation will include recent images from backpacking trips to the refuge and graphic images from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Come early to enjoy a drink and shop for art at the Wildlands Art! Exhibit and sale benefiting the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Doors will open at 6:30pm.

Albuquerque Arts Alliance Gallery is in the Courtyard Shopping Center at San Mateo and Lomas. Call 505-843-8696 for more information.

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Antiquities Act Centennial

Antiquities Act Centennial by Mark Rose, executive and online editor of ARCHAEOLOGY

An online guide to the ground-breaking 1906 act and the celebration of its 100th anniversary

National Park Service has added a “feature” called “Antiquities Act 1906-2006” to its already extensive archaeology program website. Far more than a feature, this is a mini-gateway to the Antiquities Act and the National Monuments that presidents have created using it.

The site has a clean, simple design with clear navigation. Its homepage features photographs of Montezuma’s Castle [AZ], Devils Tower [WY], the Petrified Forest [AZ], and El Morro [NM] –the first four National Monuments created, all in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Inside, in five main sections–“About the Antiquities Act,” “Maps, Facts & Figures,” “Monument Profiles,” “Centennial Activities,” and “Continuing Conservation and Preservation”–you’ll find new material, as well links leading to existing NPS website resources and a select number of external sites. …

“Antiquities Act 1906-2006” is well designed, and its content, often available at multiple levels of detail, should appeal to broad range of people. It is well worth a look if you are interested in the history of archaeology in the United States and perhaps for your vacation planning, too. And while there, you might click on the “sitemap.” It brings up a directory of the entire NPS archaeology program website, with features such as “Ancient Architects of the Mississippi” and “The Robinson House,” teacher resources, a children’s section, online exhibits, volunteer opportunities, and frequently asked questions. There is much to explore on this site.

http://www.cr.nps.gov/archeology/sites/antiquities/

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Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

The canyon of many spirits by Mary Kirk-Anderson

First occupied by humans thousands of years ago, Canyon de Chelly is one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes in North America…

Canyon de Chelly’s sheer walls, spectacular rock monoliths and fascinating connection with the native communities who have called it home, create a sense of a living place with more than simple geography to recommend it.

De Chelly (pronounced de Shay, from a corruption of tsegi, or rock canyon, the Navajo name for the area) is in Arizona’s north- eastern corner, in the Four Corners region, and lies within the great lands of the Navajo Nation. In 1931 it became a National Monument site and it is unique among National Park Service units in that it remains home to the canyon community and the NPS works in partnership with the Navajo Nation to manage the park resources. It is essentially private land. With the exception of one walking trail, the only way to enter the canyon is with a Navajo guide.

Made up of several gorges, the canyon is one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes in North America, first occupied by the ancestral puebloans about 2000 years ago. Today, the steep walls preserve in remarkable condition easily viewed ancient ruins and rock paintings from as far back as the 12th century, tracing occupation of the canyon by the ancient Anasazi people, the Hopi tribe and latterly the Navajo, who arrived in the 1700s. …

Canyon de Chelly is about 115km north of the I40 Interstate between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Flagstaff, Arizona. …

Two excellent rim drives, north and south, offer a series of spectacular overlooks.

Canyon De Chelly National Monument (National Park Service)

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Wildlands Art! NMWA Reception — Saturday, March 18th 3 to 8pm

Wildlands Art! Exhibit and sale benefiting the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance – Join us this Saturday for the NMWA Reception and Silent Auction

Saturday, March 18th 3 to 8pm (Auction will close at 7 pm)

Albuquerque Arts Alliance Gallery in the Courtyard Shopping Center at San Mateo and Lomas. Call 505-843-8696 for more information. Continue reading

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Kuaua and Coronado State Monument, Bernalillo, New Mexico

ABQjournal: Coronado Today Kicks Off a Celebration of New Mexico Monuments’ 75th Anniversary By Kathleene Parker, For the Journal

Today, Kuaua and the state monument that protects it, Coronado, will launch the 75th anniversary of the founding of New Mexico’s monuments. Coronado State Monument shelters Pueblo and Spanish Colonial artifacts and is a vastly restored monument over what existed just months ago. …

Kuaua, a Tiwa word for evergreen, has long graced the spectacular landscape south of the Jemez River’s confluence with the Rio Grande near Bernalillo. The Sandia Mountains loom mightily a short distance to the southeast and the bosque along the Rio provides a montage of seasonal colors. Continue reading

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Route from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Chaco Canyon

Mark-

A friend and I are planning on coming to Chaco for the first time. We will be coming from Salt Lake City. I am wondering if you have any routes to get there and what I can expect this time of year. Also I have a little Volkswagen Golf and i am wondering if that will be good enough to cover the dirt roads. Any info you can give me will be very much appreciated.

Thanks
MM
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Jaguar in New Mexico

ABQjournal: Jaguar Seen In Hidalgo County By Tania Soussan, Journal Staff Writer

What’s spotted all over but rarely spotted in New Mexico?

For the first time in a decade, a jaguar has been sighted in the state.

The elusive big cats— known for their golden yellow coats with dark rosette markings— once roamed widely in Arizona and New Mexico.

Today, they are endangered and mostly restricted to Mexico. Mostly.

“We have a report of a jaguar sighting in Hidalgo County,” New Mexico Game and Fish spokesman Marty Frentzel said this week. “We’re still trying to get all the facts.”

The jaguar was sighted by a mountain lion hunter and “our understanding is he was using hounds,” Frentzel added.

Beyond that, the state isn’t saying much.

But word of the sighting is spreading. Jon Schwedler, a New Mexican and manager of the Northern Jaguar Project, heard the news recently.

“It’s exciting that this jaguar is here,” he said.

Jaguars are the largest cats native to North America. They are powerful, solitary predators and can travel hundreds of miles. They are often thought of as jungle animals but have also been found in desert grasslands and conifer forests.

“We don’t know what to make of it,” Frentzel said. “… Occasionally, there is use of New Mexico by jaguar. Other than that, it may not mean much.”

Years ago, a hunter took pictures of a jaguar his dogs treed in the bootheel of NM. Hunters are the only ones lucky enough to see these big cats — I hope they are all decent enough to let them be. mjh

Blog Search Results for ‘jaguar’

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Mogollon Rock Art Lecture and Slideshow

with Photographer/Educator Anthony Howell

Thursday 3/9/06 at 6:30 pm at the Arts Alliance Gallery.
Continue reading

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Bandelier National Monument celebrates its 90th anniversary

Bandelier celebrates its 90th anniversary By RICK NATHANSON | Associated Press

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1906 Antiquities Act, which protects historic and prehistoric sites and artifacts on federal lands, and allows the president of the United States to declare public lands as national monuments.

It is also the 90th anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of Bandelier as a national monument. In recognition of those milestones, the National Park Service, the federal agency that operates the monument, will host a series of events throughout the year.

Adolph Bandelier, a self-taught archaeologist from Illinois came to the New Mexico Territory in 1880. He lived among the Cochiti people, who first showed him Pajarito Plateau and Frijoles Canyon, site of the modern day monument. He declared it “the grandest thing I ever saw.”

The pueblo’s ancestral people, sometimes referred to as Anasazi, came to the area about 1,100 years ago. Holes in the volcanic tuff of the south wall, deposited by volcanic eruptions 1.6 million and 1.2 million years ago, were enlarged to create living and storage spaces.

At its peak, about 700 people lived in Frijoles Canyon and nearly 20,000 in the overall Pajarito Plateau, Shields says. About A.D. 1550, the ancestral people of Pajarito Plateau, including Bandelier, left the area and relocated to other places along the Rio Grande. They settled in what are now San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, San Felipe, Santo Domingo and Cochiti pueblos. It is believed that drought and population growth beyond what the land could sustain led to the relocation ….

Bandelier National Monument
http://www.nps.gov/band

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My Small View of the Big Picture

I returned to Chaco Canyon a few weeks shy of what may have been my 20th anniversary of visiting there. Over 20 years, I’ve been back almost every year, sometimes several times in one year. Merri and I spent the start of our honeymoon there, under a Honey Moon, with friends. I celebrated my 40th birthday there with friends and ritual sacrifice. I’ve been there alone more than any other escape.

Most people will say Chaco is in the middle of nowhere. It involves a journey for which you must prepare. How much gas do you have? Food? Water? Are you ready for the extreme heat or cold — in the same day? For the sun and the wind-that-makes-crazy, the wind that flattens tents and strips tables? A couple of days will test anyone’s preparedness.

The landscape alone draws you there. Out of the vastness, the seeming flatness, following the beacon of Fajada Butte, from north or south, you descend gently into a canyon I think one can call intimate, almost human-scaled. On foot, one could traverse most of its length, from Wijiji to Peñasco Blanco, in a couple of days and its width in an hour or so. If there were no road, you’d still find your way along the Wash or the canyon walls.

Fajada Butte dominates one’s first impressions. With eponymous banding, it is a massive block on a tapered skirt capped by a jumble of boulders, including an almost comically balanced stone.

Reading the layers, it is as if a massive stream forked here, carving Fajada, with Chaco Wash, now a smaller, deeper arroyo heading towards Wijiji and Pueblo Pintado, and two other branches opening up in readiness for roads to come centuries later.

One might imagine Fajada Butte is THE reason for being here (while immediately think “it’s the entire canyon that draws us.”). But only Wijiji, Una Vida and Hungo Pavi have complete views of the Butte, and they are not the greatest of great houses.

No, downtown Chaco does not offer views of Fajada, but of South Gap, the gateway. Though there are more ways in and out of the canyon than a prairie dog town, South Gap has a unique, processional quality in shape and size.

One can stand at Kin Kletso, Pueblo Bonito, Chetro Ketl, Pueblo del Arroyo or by the kiva at Casa Rinconda and wave to someone in any of the other spots (well, not between Kin Kletso and Chetro Ketl, unless by way of a third person at del Arroyo). These are each wonderful and unique great houses, not quite cheek by jowl but also nothing like the estrangement of Hungo Pavi, Una Vida and Wijiji, which one might regard as an outlier as much as a backcountry great house, if lines must be drawn.

Marching through South Gap from the outlier Kin Klizhin one would see the backcountry great house Pueblo Alto above and beyond the others. The impact is profound. This is a great place by nature in which people accomplished something nearly as great.

Mesa Verde is nothing like this. There, in one great house, you’d never know another existed. You’d have to climb up to the mesa and find your way through the scrub or across the fields to drop down to the next great house. A part of Hovenweap is more like this, neighbors in sight of each other, but like the much smaller canyons, each house seems a family home, not a great public building. Wupatki is a bit like this, great houses close with unique cosmopolitan features, but it lacks the unifying canyon walls. This was the center of the world.

Some of these structures have endured a thousand years; they will not last another thousand. The canyon, the place that drew us, will last thousands of years longer, though god and geologists know it, too, will change beyond recognition in time. There is no permanence, but our lives are short enough to allow us to ignore that. mjh

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Trout Fishing in Chaco

Tuesday, February 28, 2006
08:04:10 PM

It’s Mardi Gras and I may be at the opposite end of the world at this moment. Although I have been to Chaco Canyon many, many times over the last 20 years, I’m certain I’ve never been here in this combination of circumstances. Sure, the ever present wind is, well, present as ever. The camper rocks like a boat in choppy water. Eight years ago, one side of the canvas blew in from this same wind, sending me home a day early; I hope it holds up tonight.

I left rather late, especially considering it is still winter. I was in Bernalillo a little before 4pm; Cuba about 5pm; the Chaco Visitor Center close to 7pm. I’ve heard people claim to drive here in under 3 hours, but I never have. I notice that the Gary Johnson Memorial Highway (US 550, old NM 44) has a lot of patches. Seems the innovative construction methods and the “insurance” promising perpetual upkeep didn’t get us much more than any other road in NM.

I drove here under gathering clouds, the most promising we’ve had in 3 months. Indeed, rain is not likely but for this storm moving in from Arizona, rain is more likely here, of all places, than in Albuquerque.

I was sure I was too late and it was too dark to photograph Fajada Butte, but, if I’m lucky with the exposure, I may actually have some dramatic photos of Fajada silhouetted in front of clouds barely lit by the setting sun. It was beautiful to see, even if the photos don’t work out.

At the closed Visitors Center, I stood in my headlights calling home as the coyotes called each other. Or were they greeting me?

I don’t think I’ve ever been in Chaco in the rain, though it did snow a couple of tiny pellets on me on the Alto trail one time. Ordinarily, I would not consider heading towards Chaco under threat of rain, but the threat is light and the rain would be a blessing. I’m here seeking that blessing.

I have much to offer: water, tobacco, alcohol, coffee, corn (but no blue corn), even blood.

The most remarkable thing is that I seem to be alone in this campground. My first trip I was one of four — Jas, Tom, Keri and me — in this otherwise empty campground in mid March. We awoke to snow on the tents. Now I am completely alone, except for the coyotes and forces beyond my control. Like that first trip, and many others, I am in #5, under the only significant tree in the loop, with a great view of Fajada beyond the dumpsters.

There are two trailers and one car in the two host spots, but I think they may actually be decoys and unoccupied at present.

In my hasty departure, I forgot my pillow and, more importantly, my flashlight. I particularly missed the flashlight as I tried to determine if the propane tank was properly connected. Uncertain, I had a cold supper of chips and salsa and beer. Let the offerings begin.

I am always conflicted about camping alone. More often, I have the company of my two favorite travelling companions, Mer and Lucky. Heading out alone, I’m drawn to the solitude and complete freedom. On the other hand, I’m a bit of a chicken. I’ve always regarded Chaco as the safest campground in the world, in part because it is usually teeming with people. Now I am alone, utterly alone, but for those forces that rattle my fragile walls.

Well, I do have pepper spray and a sharp stick. If the camper kept grizzlies out (not really tested), the coyotes shouldn’t be too much of a threat. But nothing stands up for long to a determined wind.

I’ve been reading Hemingway with cko’s encouragement. I see why she wanted me to read The Big Two-Hearted River, with its loving account of a man alone in the wilds. Was she also thinking specifically of my experience trout fishing? I took one delicious life before I realized how I would feel being ripped from the glorious waters of Treasure Creek. I threw back the next one, but Hemingway says I may have doomed it with my touch.

An hour or more later, it is just as breezy, though there have been moments of absolute stillness. If anything, as I write this, the wind is picking up. It has just blown over the wicker folding chair, though I think the bike is still leaning against the truck. If my bike is there in the morning, I’ll ride around Downtown Chaco, as I have done only once before.

This morning, on my walk with Lucky around Altura Park, I heard the Altura road runner mournfully calling from a tree. Then I saw another road runner trot with some curiosity in that direction. Rivals or soon-to-be mates?

Just before I drove away from home, our neighborhood road runner ran down the sidewalk in front of the house. Merri and I watched two butterflies on our cactus. Merri identified them as mourning cloaks, brown to almost black with light spots along the lower edge and, just above those, a few blue spots. One lingered on the seemingly dessicated fruit of the cactus — could it possibly find any nourishment there?

I may be in bed by 10pm. It is still above 60 degrees in the camper, though it feels colder (and should be much more so). More than likely it will drop to below freezing overnight.

Next AM

At 6:30am, it was 41 degrees — not as cold as I predicted. Now, 3 hours later, it is 63.

I set my alarm for 6:30am, but could not manage to get up. Snoozed it a few times before resetting it to 7:30am. Woke up a few minutes before that when I heard a car idling close by and someone walk around the camper. Probably a ranger noting my license plate and bumper stickers for the good of the nation.

A couple of hours later, Gloria, the campground host walked by and also noted my license. We chatted amiably about Chaco, New Mexico and Colorado, where she’s from. She’s an artist and is sketching the canyon for the NPS.

She says the weekend was “busy” with 4 campers. Turns out there were as many here last night; my neighbors were just widely dispersed.

As I sat soaking up equal parts sun and coffee, a few canyon towhees visited. They are very curious and worked their way all around the camper. At one point, I was sure one would enter the camper, so I closed the door. Missed a few great photos, but caught a few involving my coffee filter.

I’ve been thinking about that Hemingway story and, so, titled this journal “Trout Fishing in Chaco,” as much a hat-tip to Brautigan as Hemingway, as well as to the general irony of such a phrase. In Hemingway’s two short stories, I ran across up to a half a dozen unfamiliar words. All were very practical nouns, not prissy adjectives or adverbs. No, wait, there was a word describing a sound that struck me (not to the point of remembrance — how did I ever develop a vocabulary).

I think I have a prejudice against Hemingway, though I’m not sure why — probably his macho image. These stories certainly gave a brilliant impression of the scene — a scene I would love — and the man therein. And, I won’t hold against Hemingway a few turns of phrase that sounded archaic — those would have made him seem contemporary at the time. I will read a bit more.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006
8:16:52 PM

I decided to leave the camper in the CG and bike the whole day. I rode to the VC and got water. While paying my entrance fee ($8) and for another night of camping ($10), I chatted with the volunteer. She says the first 3 miles of the currently-dirt road 7950 will more than likely be paved because the county will use its and state money. The rest of the way (about 18 miles) are more iffy because they will require federal funds and impact studies, including cultural. Seems the current road crossed something historical and that may be a problem in a new review.

The stretch from the VC and Una Vida to Hungo Pavi is a long one without any ruins, as is the return from Rinconada. At Hungo Pavi, I encountered a serious photographer (large camera) from Kentucky. He asked if I’d gotten any good shots and I demurred. How about you, I asked. I don’t really care, he replied. We crossed paths a few more times in the day; he’s up the tent-only loop, as I believe he may have been last night.

I spent a lot of time at Chetro Ketl, my current favorite, and more time than usual at Pueblo Bonito. I tend to think of the noon-day sun as being unfriendly for photos, but I do love the sharp lines of shadows — one wall in sun, one in shade, the demarcation perfect in the corners.

I lunched under the ramada at the trailhead to Kin Kletso, etc. Then I explored Pueblo del Arroyo, another favorite. I think it may have been the last time I was here that my camera batteries died at del Arroyo and I had no spare. Now I have several sets of spares AND a recharger, but this one set has served since home.

I stopped only briefly near Rinconada and a couple of other times, including overlooking the Chaco Wash. Then back to the VC to refill 4 bottles, and on home to #5. It was perfect weather for riding. I was comfortable in long pants and long sleeves the whole time. My bike odometer indicates 11+ miles and a ride time of 1.25 hours (which seems long) — I was gone 4.5 hours.

Back at mid-afternoon, I had coffee and read. I like that many of the people in Hemingway’s stories read and talk about books and authors. Those were more literate times, perhaps.

It felt colder than mid-60’s. About 24 hours after my arrival, the clouds looked even more auspicious than yesterday. I offered the canyon coffee, beer and tobacco. I said “please” for rain. I swear, as I got back into the camper at dark, I heard the tell-tale pricks of rain for 15 seconds.

I was reminded of a solo trip here years ago when I intended to sleep under the stars, as I have a couple of times. As I cooked my dinner, I saw storm clouds to the west. I soon realized they were moving in very quickly. I had just finished raising the tent but not yet staking it when the storm hit. I threw myself and my gear into the tent as the only way to keep it down in the fierce wind, certain I would awake some distance from there in the morning. I don’t really recall the rain, just the wind, but it must have rained in such a storm.

For dinner tonight, I pan-fried a steak with onions and garlic and ate fajitas. Muy sabrosa.

At the moment, I’m thinking I will drive out to the outlier Kin Klizhin below South Gap and head home by noon, possibly with a little side trip near Cabezon. Morning will tell.

Next Morning

At 6:30am, it was 33 degrees — ten degrees colder than the morning before.

The coyotes just sang for the 5th or 6th time that I heard in the past 12 hours. Unusual to hear so many choruses from the same vicinity. I thought I could see movement towards the canyon wall. I love the song dog’s song, but a few times these had a demented and unharmonized sound.

The canyon towhee has been back and tapped, tapped, tapped his feet across the roof, stopping by the vent to inquire. We chatted a moment before the coyote’s last song.

No sooner had I stopped writing last night about the feeble rain, it started to rain slightly more. It was rain for sure, though I doubt it soaked the ground much. Thank you, just the same — a gift is a gift.

Thursday, March 02, 2006
10:33:41 PM

I loaded up, dropped the camper top and headed out at about 9:30am, bidding farewell to the towhees. I ran the laptop in tablet mode plugged into the cigarette lighter with the GPS going, tracking my entire trip home.

Before leaving the canyon, I drove around the loop one last time. Then I headed south on 57 to the unmarked turnoff for Kin Klizhin, which I have been to once before, for my 47th birthday. That road has everything: washboard, ruts, and inclines that threaten to tip the truck over on its side. It certainly is odd that the first sign isn’t until 4 miles in — you really have to have faith until then.

It’s funny that what I remember best from my first visit was that Kin Klizhin has dikes that used to impound water for crops — instead of remembering the ruins themselves. Not only is the location desolate and dramatic, but there are pieces of a 4 story kiva still standing. That reminds me of the tall kiva at Kin Ya’a, though there may be more of this one intact. According to documentation, this wasn’t one 4-story kiva, it was 4 kivas stacked on each other. Hard to imagine. I don’t recall hearing of stacked kivas before, though that may not mean much.

In Chaco, in places, at least, when there were several stories, the lower stories have thicker walls and the walls effectively taper as they rise — seems reasonable. Here, the upper wall is thicker than the lower, as if, inside, they wanted a tapered room, like being in a big pot. This is also an example of a round hole in a square peg; that is, from the outside we have 4 walls and inside we have a round kiva. So much work to get things just so.

I left Kin Klizhin around 12:30pm, beginning my return journey 45 hours after having left home. Having endure such a rough drive to Klizhin, I felt the old South Road couldn’t be worse — and it wasn’t. I still like this route the most; it has more variations in terrain than the north road, twisting and climbing much more.

I hit Navajo 9 and turned east. At the turnoff towards Grants, I headed back towards Cuba instead. This allowed me to stop at Pueblo Pintado for a half hour. I saw two people on horses, including a girl in velvet amid a flock of sheep. The trip from Pintado to Cuba was longer than I remembered. By chance, I passed through Cuba 47 hours after the first time, stopping for gas, fries and coffee before returning on 550. I tithed the parking lot crow 2 fries.

The rest of the trip, at least as far as Bernalillo, was easy going. I stopped once for a photo of Cabezon and its neighboring plugs. I grooved to Talking Heads, and others. Somewhere along the road, I recalled something I read, perhaps from a Buddhist, in which he said, “see that waterfall? For a brief moment, single drops of water fall seeming independent from each other, but in the end they join again in the endless cycle of water. So are our lives.” Apt and beautiful notion or no, it makes me sad. I’m still enjoying the fall.

In Bernalillo, I hoped to avoid the Interstate by taking 318. Unfortunately, I got stuck behind two vehicles that didn’t seem to care that the speed limit was 55 instead of 35. I tried to remind myself of the Kentuckian saying Chaco tells us to slow down. That didn’t quite work.

Wading across town through “rush” hour, I felt “behind” though, as is often the case, I had no schedule, no time to keep (just “dappled and drowsy and ready for sleep” — all is groovy). And, chance or fate, brought me through the pink light and down a side street directly towards my dear Mer and Lucky Dog. Timing is everything. mjh

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