Thursday, May 13, 2010

Camping at Chaco

One of our favorite places to explore is Chaco Culture National
Historic Park, in northwest New Mexico. For those who might
not know, it was a residential, religious and astronomical center
of the Anasazi (Ancient Puebloan) people, a thousand years ago.
This is our third time we've visited, but there always seems to
be new things to discover, and this visit was no different. To
get to Chaco, you have to want to be going there.
It's not near any interstate highway, and a twenty mile rough dirt
road from one of two directions is the only way you can reach the
park. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Center.

The only way you can stay overnight at Chaco is to camp. We
arrived at the Gallo Campground and found it not full, but a
bit busier than we expected. Obviously, other folks wanted to
share the experience of staying here in this remote land. We
found a great spot, adjacent to several ruins that were essentially
"suburban" houses to the "Great Houses" of the Chaco Canyon

Workers and their families lived here and you could almost feel
their presence.

Lynn pointed out to me this second ruin that was very easy to
miss. It even included a very small kiva. These kivas acted as
small religious centers. This one for one or two small families.
Larger ones in the Great Houses served as religious and community
centers for a much larger population.

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