Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend Expedition to Chaco Canyon

The creek near the house has been running all spring as the snow melts. By fall, it slows to a trickle.

We decided to head south to Chaco Canyon to visit the ancient Puebloan Ruins that are there. Also, we needed to get out camping as prep for some summer trips we have planned. We brought the bikes along to get us out of the car to better experience the environment of the canyon. Here's an action shot of Erica tearing up the pavement.

We camped on site at the park service campground. It's first come, first serve, and we were both impressed with the number of other campers. I would say that two thirds of the sites were full. Good to see so many people taking an interest in this remote but AMAZING cultural site. The canyon is SILENT, both day and night. You can speak in a normal voice, and be heard across to the other side. Any louder noises resonate and echo across the valley floor, adding to the mystique of Chaco.

It was warm during the day, but the canyon sits in the high desert of Northwestern New Mexico at close to 6000ft above sea level, and it got down into the 30's after the sun set. I had to warm the vino by the fire to bring out the full luster of the fine vint. (Trader Joe's house brand zin... look for it in Wine Spectator next month ;-). Isn't this a great shot of us by the fire?

We took a guided tour of Pueblo Bonito to get a few more details on the site. It was an hour well spent. I wish we had done it last time we were there in 2001. The park service has done a nice job of balancing access to the site with preservation efforts. As far as national parks go, this one is fantastic, and not done "Disney World" style, like some of them are.

Checking out some petroglyphs

Looking Southwest out of the canyon.

Pueblo Bonito from the rim of the canyon.

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