We got up early to beat the heat . . . Or try to! And headed off into the desert. After the luxury of Santa Fe and it’s amazing restaurants, we were facing 3 or so days in the desert with no hookups and no services and no air conditioning!
We stopped for a snack in Cuba, NM -- Navajo Fry Bread . . . So delicious!!!
And, then we headed down the dirt road from hell . . . 13 miles of dusty washboard. We averaged around 11 mph on it but we made it. At one point, a group of SUVs came from the other direction. The lead car took one look at us and drove off the road. I'm not sure what that was about as Greg had left plenty of room for him but we were glad he had some friends there to help him out of the soft shoulder.
We pulled into the Gallo Campground and drove through looking for the best site. We got it. When we’d been researching Chaco, we had seen pictures of this campground. Several of the sites are right next to the cliffs where there are two small ruins and some petroglyphs and pictographs. We got the site we’d been hoping for.
We got settled in -- it was windy and hot and everything is dusty there. Then we drove over to the Visitor’s Center and got oriented. We drove the loop road and stopped at Pueblo del Arroyo to walk through the ruins.
Chaco Canyon was the center of Anasazi (Ancient Pueblo People) culture at one time. It is very important to understanding the world they lived in and what was important and ceremonial to them. That said, we know very little about the purpose of Chaco.
Greg and I learned about it 23 years ago but couldn’t fit it into our schedule at that time. This time, we knew we wanted to see it. So, we planned the trip around spending several days at Chaco.
We set up the telescope after dinner. Chaco is very isolated and has some of the darkest skies in America. We were able to see Saturn through the telescope . . . What a thrill!