Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Aztec Ruins and Shiprock...and washboard road

 My plan was to do the Aztec Ruins, Shiprock and Chaco Canyon...the Canyon got scratched...so it was off to the Aztec Ruins National Monument.....its about any hour  south on 550....a nice casual drive...not too much to take in...little over half way you cross into New Mexico.....land flattens out....kinda reminds me of West Texas.....To find the park can be somewhat tricky...especially for this old AARP....it is in town, but hidden  from view....It's a National Monument and the facilities are good, they provide you with a brochure and map to use on your self guided tour, plus a movie...Its takes about an hour to walk through it..I enjoyed it as you get a good appreciation of life at that time...and they have done a GREAT job on restoring The Great Kiva....
Great Kiva-photograph by Horst Kelly

Great Kiva
"Aztec was inhabited for about 200 years,with the first arrivals coming about 1088-1090, and the deepest excavations have found Chacoan pottery. According to tree-ring dating the West Ruin was built between 1111 and 1115 AD. This 450-room pueblo includes one of the few tri-wall kivas ever found. By the 13th century this pueblo may have equaled Chaco in size.
A severe drought began in 1130 that was to last 60 years, and by 1150 the Chacoan social and economic center was declining which impacted Aztec as well as Salmon Ruin. Though the region was mostly abandoned, some local peoples of the San Juan Valley lived at both sites until about 1185 and they used the structures as they found them.
Then people related to the Mesa Verdans took over in 1225, and changes in the architecture were made, consisting mainly of dividing the large rooms and building many small kivas within the large square and rectangular rooms.
As each succeeding group moved in they depleted the resources of the area according to their preferences and moved on. A drought from 1276 to 1299 was the telling blow and the last inhabitants left in the 1300's."

Next was a trip to Charo Canyon...or I thought...more than an  hours drive on 550 and then a 23 mile ride on  co 7900 and 7950...16 miles which is dirt, and as I found out washboard...to the extreme, at least for me...3 miles into the washboard section, I decided I'd didn't need to create another mechanical problem...no  photo ops is worth that  especially out in the middle of nowhere.....

So it was off to Shiprock.....which was a mite far to the northwest...but time isn't money to me, so a relaxing trip it was...enjoying the small hamlets along the way.....though it appeared that it was a hard life out here....subdivisions that had duplexes in  box shape structures no more 800-1000 square feet for both units...there where more liquor stores than fast food joints or drug stores.....as I pass the high schools my mind wonders as to how many will graduate, and what is there life was like as a young teenager.

I went past the town of Shiprock, took US 491 then take  another road to get to a somewhat good location for viewing....to get to the base is another dirt road about 5 miles long...since it looked like rain was moving in, I decided to try a zoom lens in the 70-400 range......Mother Nature didn't give me too much time as it started raining...within 15 minutes after setting up it went from partly cloudy to thunder showers...I was hoping that I would get some lighting around the mountain...nope...not happening, so I packed up and called it a day...

Shiprock-photography ny Horst Kelly
It was about a two hour drive home...as before the small communities that I passed seemed at poverty level......back at Durango it was raining...soup and sandwich...sat back relaxed, played some Bob Seger stuff, and called it a night.

Shiprock-photograph by Horst Kelly
Today is my prepare to depart day...the weather has been raining on and off all morning...went to Walmart for supplies, checked the pressure on my tires, did laundry, washed a couple days of dishes, and tackled  this blog...hopefully the rain will let up later so I can hitch up for tomorrows trip..then it's off to Monument Valley, about a four hour haul.....with no problems..haha.....I'll sign off for now....thanks for checking in...Horst

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