Chaco Canyon


Clouds threatened but I decided to go.  Allow me to clue you in — the entrance from the south (20 miles of {really} rough road) is better suited to a 4-wheel drive than a Prius.  But Mom’s Memorial gave more than 100%.  Also it began to rain, and I feared the unknown of flash floods as much as the road. We  got through unscathed.

I set up tent as the showers lessened.  Then the big thunder rolled in with the heavy rain. Hoping that the tent would be sufficient for our comfort, I lay back on the bedroll and began observing the deficiencies of the tent’s design.  Needless to say, Oola and I spent the night in the car.

But every pilgrimage requires sacrifice for purification of the spirit, and in the morning we were rewarded with the sight of sunrise on Fajada Butte.

Fajada Butte
Fajada Butte catches the first rays

At the top of this butte is the famous Sun Dagger petroglyph, found in 1977 by artist Anna Sofaer.  In spite of controversy she has worked ever since then to uncover and demonstrate the solar and lunar implications of her discovery.

overview of Pueblo Bonito
Aerial of Pueblo Bonito

Pueblo Bonito, comprised of many circular enclosures, plazas, and hundreds of small rooms is the largest of several ceremonial complexes in the canyon. I borrow an image from Bullfrog films to give you an idea of it from the air.

Everywhere you look in Pueblo Bonito a remarkable composition looks you right back in the eyeball.  It is amazing!  The last time I was here, there was snow during the night. The site was a vision in white on black circular forms. This morning it was a study in rectangles and texture.  A few examples from among MANY.

Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonito
Lee and Oola
Lee and Oola

We had the good fortune to meet photographer and educator, Lee Silliman, from Montana.  It was early morning; there was marvelous light; he and I had the whole place to ourselves.  He was working with some heavy equipment (in all senses of the word) and he graciously allowed Oola to look through his lense.  (Other end, Oola!)   I took about 30 shots for each one of his. He probably got more and better results than I.

Much has been written about Chaco.  I invite you to investigate it.  If you decide to visit, take the northern entrance.

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