Friday, September 16, 2011

CRACKING THE SPECTACULOR MYSTERY OF CHACO

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS SPECTACULOR MYSTERY? I'ts 80 miles 0ut in the desert ---think I'll go out there and let 'my good genius" have a crack at it.
Driving North from Thoreau, NM into Indian country.

Hardly a soul out here.

13 miles to that horizon---so far so good.  I've left my trailer behind because:
I knew this was coming: 20 miles of very iffy road.  They deliberately make getting there difficult to discourage all but those seriously interested in this phenomenon.

And it was indeed iffy---occasionally had to creep along at walking speed.

I'm here---ready to confront the mystery.

That's fajada butte---up there on top is where the famous solstice sun dagger was discovered. On June 21st a dagger of light falls precisely on a target chipped in the rock. (That's the new Visitor center in the plain)

A terrific campground---I'm sleeping in the tent. I wandered around  late at night and met a mysterious guy with an Indian Drum---who told me he was on a spiritual quest and that the moon would be full at 2 am---time for his ceremony.  (turns out, many are here in search of something mystical)

Here is what all the hoopla is about---Pueblo Bonito---the epicenter of a cultural tsunami---as it appeared a thousand years ago.  It is huge--over 500 rooms---and built so well that a fair chunk of it remains. (as you will see)


Me at the outer edge.

A representative chunk of it---- walls smooth on both sides with rubble filling the center----they built 5 or 6 stories high----9 ft ceilings.  So what's the big mystery?  Hang on---I'll tell you!

Is that precise construction or what? The mortar is mud and that is all origional masonry--a thousand years old.  So you're impressed----but not mystified?  Hang on--I'll get to it.  
Aaaah but look here----ANOTHER whopper of a pueblo barely a mile away.

Let's go up on top of the mesa to get some perspective.  See that crack up there--thats how "they" got up there and interestingly---that's still the way up there.  I went---but it was a bit hairy.
And what's up there?  ANOTHER grand pueblo------and just to the right of it--STILL ANOTHER vast complex with a huge plaza in it's center.  There's no water up here to speak of----why in heavens name did they do this?
Here's the pueblo I just mentioned----wanted to show again the superb masonry---corner perfectly square and smoothe after a thousand years.
Now I sit down to let pueblo Bonito speak to me. Luke climbed up the scary trail with me and comes over to get congratulated.
And there it is again---in all its mystery---just one entrance---a massive endeavor in a very unlikely place.  Soil and water are just marginal. It thrived for 300 years---and then the people went elsewhere.
Now brace yourself----THERE ARE 12 OF THESE GREAT HOUSES almost within sight of one another. This is the largest and oldest.  Beginning to get the feel of the mystery: Why did a building frenzy happen here?  Why did the cultural pattern created here spread hundreds of miles in every direction.  They found cocoa from central America here---parrot skeletons---metal goods--and guess what? TWO GIANTS buried down there. (giants in that they towered over the locals)---but nobody else.
I've asked my good genius to digest all this and give me a plausible answer---AND IT HAS---
tomorrow I will spell out the very surprising answer---and its direct relevance to you.
It's near midnight and I'm sleepy.  I leave you with this odd photo of a guy balancing on his hands in some sort of spiritual posture--RIGHT ON THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF!  He was one of a dozen here on a pilgrimage seeking ------something!



10 comments:

Rob said...

This is something I have to go see! Thanks for passing it along...

Climate changes, I wonder what the climate was like when they started building the pueblos and what it was like when they left.

Tesaje said...

I know Chaco Canyon pretty well. It was a brother's early Park in the 1960s. Interesting the road is no better now than it was 40 years ago. The climate was significantly better then that it is now (and getting worse). They had fairly sophisticated irrigation canals to help. Around 1300AD, a long drought descended on the place and it is thought that's what drove them out. The Navajo's who inhabit the area now have no relation to these Amerindians. Navajoes came from the Plains in the 19th century. I'll be interested to hear what you think you know about "why."

heyduke50 said...

pretty cool looking spot... will have to check it out even though I am not seeking anything...

Invader Zim said...

Is there gold there, did you find any gold? (Just a joke.)One man really did find gold in the desert with a metal detector tied to his jeep, driving slow. It was a big chunk the size of a dinner plate.

It was worth $100,000. The secrete was he new about these old dried-up river beds. WOW! This was a story on TV called Treasure Hunters.

But it didn't change him he still lived out in the desert in his RV and enjoys the thrill of the hunt more than the gold.

1 More Mile! said...

So Tesaje, ya mean there was (queue sinister music) "CLIMATE CHANGE" 700 years ago? Wow and no Enron and OwlGore to fix things and save us from certain demise. Bummer.

Boonie said...

Now you have me completely confused. Normally you rant against organized religion. Isn't Chaco an example of organized religion? So why all the praise and the superlatives?

Maybe you should also praise Roman Catholicism because of its cathedral-building during the High Middle Ages, or the pyramid building in Egypt or central Mexico.

I suspect that the organized religions that we know something about (from books and paintings) are repulsive to you, but if we don't actually know much about it, you get sucked into filling the vacuum with wishful thinking.

Perhaps this comment jumps the gun.

1 More Mile! said...

Boonie, I think the answer is that Randy only likes organized religions that no longer exist.

KT Roet Travels said...

Cool story! We have not been there yet. Great pictures too. Had to laugh at a comment getting all crazy over religion....heading back south huh? We are still "up" here for three weeks or so. Enjoy!

Homeless Millionaire said...

Great stuff, Must be so enjoyable to explore things like that. WOW

Anonymous said...

Too dusty, dirty, hot, and no colors. The mortgage must be killer, nope, live in a van down by the river.

Like Saturday Night Live TV show Chris Farley.
Check it out on Youtube it's lol.

But the best place for a stealth van dweller is the cooler summer weather of California's Pacific Coast near the beach.
With multi-millon dollar views, fresh cool breeze, shaded parking lot stores, awesome Water Parks - no sharks, and all mostly free.

Park at a hotel parking lot for (free)no room rental, with an ice cold drink under their umbrella shaded chairs and enjoy the awesome ocean views on the cheap. Yea buddy!

Aaaaaaa, the good life, little work, no people problems, lots of play, and lots of freedom.

Why would you want a house unless you where rich.

Live in the desert? Haaaa! Never!

P.S. - If you like Water Parks buy the seasonal pass, saves lots of money. Haaaa! The desert.