Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rock Of Ages

The past few days we have been exploring the Anasazi ruins of Wupatki and Mesa Verde National Monuments. I was quite impressed with the ancients stone laying abilities. Not only are the stones laid with a great technical proficiency but there is a true artistic sensibility to them also.

Even a playfulness in some cases it would seem. They just built around anything they couldn't move and would even throw in an odd colored rock here and there to break up the pattern.

This particular wall is at Wupatki and I just loved how they flushed up their wall with the line of the natural stone foundation so perfectly. It's like the laid stonework just grows out of the earth.
Just beautiful.

This is at Canyon De Shelly, pronounced like Canyon De Shea. A absolutely beautiful place but with horrible history. I felt odd here. This was the start of the Canyon del Muertos (Canyon of the Dead). I believe so named because this is the area where Kit Carson and his men slaughtered so many Navajo as he was trying to drive them from their land. He finally did drive them off to another state, then, the federal government decided the land wasn't worth anything anyway and so they let the remaining Navajos come back. Seems the logic and efficiency of our government hasn't changed much over time.

And this is the ever famous Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde. It was impressive but this is the closest you can get unless you pay the park rangers $50 a head. You can walk through a couple of the other sites by yourself though. You will also hear a lot of French and German being spoken at these sites as those countries seem to have an almsot cultish obsession with our ancient southwest. I found that very curious but the phenomenon is large enough that it has even been written about. Who knew?
We also made a trip through the Navajo and Hopi Reservations an a quest for me to find Honan, the Badger. The Hopi reservation is smack in the center of the Navajos so I had to go through them to get to the Hopi. It was very interesting though and the Hopi are very kind and friendly. The Navajo a little less so but we had a great time. We finally stumbled upon a little store on Second Mesa and met a wonderful Hopi lady and her husband, an Anglo. We talked with them and browsed their store for over an hour I bet. As the Hopi do not like photographs to be taken, I have no pictures but I have recorded the experience in my heart as they say we should. I will introduce you all to Honan the Badger when I return home.
Tonight we are in Durango, CO and will head out for Aztec and possibly Chaco Canyon tomorrow. From there I'm not sure. We are getting tired and missing home a little at this point but are still having a great time and seeing so many wondrous things. Oh, we finally got to try Indian fry bread; it is very good. Something like our southern funnel cakes if dunked in honey.


Ed said...

Back when I visited Mesa Verde some 20+ years ago, I don't recall any fee as long as you signed up for a tour time in advance of your arrival. I guess times have changed. I don't think you missed much. I remember the ruins as being very sterile feeling, not like those not so popular ones found out in the desert.

I was privileged to see a still sealed Anasazi ruin along the Colorado river once but I swore that I would never reveal the location. It was quite eerie standing there imagining what was inside.

Floridacracker said...

When I was in the Park Service in Florida, they sent my paycheck to Mesa Verde once.

That's as close as I have been.

I was in Durango about a billion years ago.

Beautiful photos, girl!

edifice rex said...

Hey Ed! yeah, I felt a much greater experience at Wupatki than at Mesa Verde. Several archeologists have accused the government of just trying to make a buck from sealing Cliff Palace off from people. Even if you go n the tour you can't get up in the ruins much. I have many mixed emotions about the things as the whites have desecrated the places so by removing the dead buried here.

Hey FC! that's wild! lol!
I think Ed is right, Wupatki or some of the others is a better experience than Mesa Verde anyway and not near as much trouble to get to.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you go to the Taos Reservation, they want money per head to enter and will charge for your camera as well, you can't take their photo unless you ask their permission and I am sure pay a fee. You also had to park by the pig pen. Poverty is rampant of course, they still live off the land and hunt it, their water still comes from Taos mt. Don't dare park in the chief council's parking space either...:-)

edifice rex said...

Hey Anon! yes, the poverty is overwhelming in some areas. I bought several things from some of the Navajo just because I felt bad for them. However, the products were nice and I liked them.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

The Cliff Palace at Mesa verde is AMAZING. While it seems a ripoff about the charge, I can also see some folks trying to take pieces as "souvenirs" ansights which would be diastrous. Even though you couldn't get closer, the photos of this and the other sites were terrific. Glad you are having good weather too.

Jenn said...

Damn, what a GREAT vacation.

edifice rex said...

Hey Beatrice! yeah, the weather has been fabulous; thanks!

Hey Jenn! yeah, it has been!

Wendy said...

Re: the French and German interest in our native heritage. When I lived in Germany, we used to visit this night club called "The Fillwood." Their mascot (if you will) was the face of a Native American, and the logo on their walls said "Bull-Sittin'." It took me many months to realize that it was "Sitting Bull" who was the face on their matchbooks, cups and t-shirts ;). When I finally realized, it was actually kind of funny to me, and I thought it was a bit odd - now, I know ;).

Sounds like you had an amazing trip! It's certainly beautiful country out that way ... ;).