Chaco Canyon Journals

Chaco Canyon - In the Footsteps of the Ancient Ones

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An October 2004 trip to Chaco Canyon by BawBaw

Fajada Butte Photo, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico More Photos
Quote: In the starkly beautiful wilderness of Chaco Canyon, the Anasazi (or Ancient Ones) created and sustained a center of civilization that inspires awe and fires the imagination. The dramatic landscape and remarkable achievements of the Anasazi combine to make the difficult journey to Chaco an unforgettable experience.

Chaco Canyon - In the Footsteps of the Ancient Ones

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Overview

Chaco Canyon - Fajada Butte Photo, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
Quote:
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is located in the high desert country of northwestern New Mexico. Situated in the central part of the San Juan Basin, Chaco Canyon is arguably one of the most beautiful spots in North America. Remote and isolated, the landscape consists of a series of canyons, arroyos, and mesas, which include the ruins of several Anasazi pueblo communities. Designated as both a national park and a World Heritage Site, Chaco is a rare gift from the past to the present and, if we fulfill our stewardship properly, to the future. A visit to Chaco Canyon is a feast to the senses. It is spectacular in a way that can only be found...Read More

Gallo Campground

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Hotel

Gallo Campground Photo, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
Quote:
Chaco Canyon’s nearest substantial town is almost 60 miles away. Hence, one doesn’t travel impulsively to Chaco and decide to stay overnight at the local Holiday Inn. Although guest lodging at a remote ranch or sheep station may theoretically be possible, the canyon’s isolation and limited access means that camping provides the only reliable form of accommodation -- and even that is sharply limited. When Himself and I visited Chaco in October 2004, we borrowed a small RV from a trusting family member and hit the road. Unfortunately, it was the wrong road. Having accepted tasty southwestern hospitality from friends in Grants, we planned to approach the can...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 14, 2004

Gallo Campground
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, PO Box 220
Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
(505) 786-7014

The Petroglyph Trail

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Attraction

The Petroglyph Trail Photo, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
Quote:
The ancient Chacoans still communicate across the ages. They speak through the complex simplicity of their architecture, through the skill with which they crafted their clay vessels and personal adornments, and perhaps most stridently, through the profusion of petroglyphs (images carved into rock) and pictographs (images painted onto the rock face) left in the wake of their disappearance. In a language that is at once mysterious and familiar, examples of their art can be found throughout the Southwest, in areas where ancient peoples lived and traveled. At Chaco, the easiest place to explore these messages is along the Petroglyph Trail. The Petroglyph Trail offers visitors a quarter-mile-long, s...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 28, 2004

The Petroglyph Trail
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, PO Box 220
Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Fajada Butte

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Attraction

Chaco Canyon - Fajada Butte Photo, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
Quote:
Fajada Butte dominates Chaco Canyon as no other single landmark does. Rising 380 feet above the canyon floor (which itself rises to an elevation of 6248 feet above sea level), the butte is the remnant of a larger mesa long since eroded away by wind and water. Its shape resembles a great ship navigating a sea of sand and rock, but its function for the ancient Chacoans seems to have had more to do with navigating the sky and marking the passage of the seasons. Fajada Butte is, in fact, an American stonehenge.Although visitors are now limited to gazing at the butte from across an expanse of desert, there was a time when the hardy and the adventure-prone were free to hike and climb in it...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 29, 2004

Fajada Butte
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, PO Box 220
Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Chaco Canyon - Modern Pictograph Photo, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
Quote:
A "great house" of the pre-Columbian peoples of the American Southwest was a multi-storied pueblo compound that almost always included at least one "great kiva." In turn, a kiva, great or otherwise, was (and still is among modern Pueblo tribes) a round ceremonial chamber used to mark occasions of special significance. Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico protects and showcases the great houses that lay at the spiritual center of the Chacoan universe. Scholarly opinion regards the great houses of Chaco, constructed incrementally between 850 and 1150, as an extraordinary example of public architecture. They were built to accomm...Read More

About the Writer

BawBaw

BawBaw
West Virginia, West Virginia