Chaco Culture (New Mexico)

A few weeks back Mama, Papa and I went to a place in the middle of nowhere called Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Though I wasn’t actually able to get into the ruins, again, we had great trip that was like looking back in time.

The drive didn’t seem long but I was asleep most of the way so I could be wrong. (Oh, Papa tells me I was wrong.)

Through the desertThe road was desolate and for miles nothing could be seen. That is, until we came across some beautiful wild horses.

I remember the first time I met a horse I was hiking with Papa up in Oregon when we walked up behind two of them. I didn’t know what to do with these huge creatures so I kept my distance until Papa made me walk right past them. Can you imagine my small stature looking up at a horse…?

Wild HorsesAs we went farther into the middle of nowhere we came across these two buildings. They were the only buildings you could see for miles and seemed long since abandoned.

Desert DwellingsFinally we went through a gate and found the entrance sign to Chaco Culture National Historic Park.

ChacoWe were finally here and ready for an adventure. Alas, this was as close as I would get as again “NO DOGS ALLOWED!”

I’m noticing a theme here about National Parks and that theme is that they do not like animals. At least not the ones that people befriend.

Chaco TrailMama and Papa trekked farther and came across this plaque that tells of the finding and slight restoration efforts that were done once the ruins were unearthed.

Pueblo Bonito They began walking around the outside and around the back of this structure.

Approaching Chaco from the side The architecture here is very different from anything Mama and Papa had ever seen.

Area Closed Beyond SignOnce they were around the backside they went up on a ledge that looked over the whole building. They read that the archaeologists that found this place believe the outer walls were much larger when it was in use.

Chaco View

Saw this lizard

Saw this lizard

This wall here shows the height they suspect the outer wall was all the way around.

Chaco staircaseThese steps lead down to the entrance to the inside of Chaco Culture where humans can walk around and get an up close look at the ruins.

Chaco Culture interiorThis circular room are called Kivas and were used when the people would have important gatherings that involved a family. This is a Great Kiva where many families would gather.

Chaco GatheringBelow is a standard size Kiva. Mama told me these Kivas each represent a family. Meetings and birthing would happen in these as well as many normal daily activities.

A roof would be made by laying wood on the pillars and eventually when enough were stacked it would make for quite the roof. They even had vent holes at the bottom of most of them so the fire and the people could breathe.

Chaco Kiva Moving farther in there were rooms that were finished and most likely used for storage. Though to get through them you had to crouch to enter. Our old neighbor, Dean, who is a Native American up in Oregon told Papa about small doors and Native American culture.

Dean said it is about respect, symbolized birth and is humbling to the person as they came through. Ill intent and negative emotions are to be left at the door. I wonder if the same is true for the people that lived here?

Chaco DoorwayThis is the inside of one of these finished rooms. If you look close you can see someone was nice enough to carve RW into the wood. These look so out of place I can only imagine that someone with no respect came here and decided to blemish this amazing piece of history; too bad really.

I am a dog and you could trust me not to do something like this. Thankfully this was the only defacing they saw here.

Interior Room CeilingFinally when emerging from the other side, the trail had led them full circle and almost back to me. I always know when they are coming to get me and that made me happy.

Chaco wallDesert Frenchie

This turned out to be a great trip for Mama and Papa and I got a chance to sit in the shade.

Thank you to Papa’s fourth grade teacher, Mr. Oliver, for recommending we come to Chaco Culture National Historical Park.