"Art and Ruins of the Ancients" Chapter 5

Posted by Carrie Giacolone on

Today, we are sharing something a little more "mainstream." Rather than straying off the beaten path like we usually do, we ventured into Canyons of the Ancients National Monument area. This is our first journey into this 176,000-acre area located in the four corners region of Southwestern Colorado. This area contains the highest known archaeological site density in the United States. The number of Anasazi archaeological sites in this area is estimated at 30,000 which include such things as villages, kivas, cliff dwellings, shrines, sacred springs, petroglyphs and sweat lodges to name a few. Since we stumbled across this on our way to another area, we found ourselves quite unprepared for the vastness and density of things to check out. We will share with you what we found but before we head back, which we are looking forward to doing, we are going to spend some time at the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum so that we can gather information, make a plan and effectively cover some ground to explore and share with you the amazing things that await. So exciting...let's get started.
As you may already know, we had a huge amount of snowfall this year in our area which is a strong contrast to the drought conditions we have experienced in the preceding few years. As a result of this welcomed moisture, there is a wide variety of and large amount of beautiful wildflowers blooming throughout the area. I will post those photos later on in the blog post for you to enjoy.
But first...the ruins we found...
When we entered the Monument, there is a road which seems to go on forever, with many off-shoots on either side. Since it was our first time through this area, we decided to basically stick to the main road. We drove for a long, long time before we came across the dwellings which were perched on the edge of a large rock-faced cliff. We were quite taken with the symmetry of the rocks used in these structures. It appeared that there were, at one time, three dwellings in this proximity; the first one was partially intact, the second was evidenced by a rock wall that had seemingly fallen onto the ground and has sunken into the surrounding soft dirt, and the third was complete rubble.
We will begin with a collage of photos of the most intact structure. Can you believe the symmetry, the corners and the craftsmanship? When I was photographing the second photo of the corner of the structure, a little lizard scrambled out and scared me half to death!
Now, here is a photo of the second structure, where the wall had fallen, almost intact, and settled into the dirt.
We hiked down below these structures and found a couple of rock caves that were very cool in temperature and shaded, a welcome refuge from the heat of the sun to be sure. In the third photo, there is evidence of a structure against the wall.
We were miles and miles from any modern civilization, yet we saw this piece of Christmas tinsel on the ground on the way into the caves above...had to show you.
And now, for those wildflowers I mentioned above, along with an interesting patch of moss.
We decided to come back home by way of Alkali Ridge and when we were close to approaching the highway, Ted looked over and saw this cliff dwelling, which we will definitely be checking out by hiking to up it...but that's a story for another day. Can you see it?
As always, we hope you have enjoyed our adventure share. Until next time. Thanks for checking it out.
Carrie and Ted

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