Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 16 - Chaco, NM

We got up early and went on hiking.  Greg and Ruth wanted to go hike to Pueblo Alto -- on top of the mesa above Pueblo Bonito.  It was a 5+ mile hike up the mesa, along the top of the mesa and then back down.  Ruth and Greg had a raven accompany them on much of their hike.

Ruth & Greg on their hike to top of Mesa

But, Gage and I did not want to do all that up and down . . . No thank you very kindly!  We opted for the hike along the Petroglyph trail and out to the Supernova Pictograph.  It was 6 miles round trip.

Petroglyphs at Chaco

Petroglyphs at Chaco Canyon

Many of the petroglyphs were truly amazing. Many of them were also damaged by visitors -- some as long ago as 1910 -- who felt that their addition to the 1,000 year old art somehow made it better. Very saddening (to quote my daughter). Petroglyphs are carved into stone while pictographs are painted on stone. As you might imagine, pictographs are much more fragile and only survive in protected places. The supernova pictograph MAY be a depiction of the supernova from 1054 or it may be something else entirely. Whatever it means, it's pretty special to look at. Well worth hiking 6 miles in 95F heat to see.

Supernova Pictograph at Chaco

Hiking in the desert is an adventure.  It’s hot.  Very, very hot.  You probably won’t have enough water with you.  Having wonderful things to see makes it worth it . . . But it’s hard, hot work.

The funny thing was that for the entire hike Greg and I were both worried that we were going too slowly and the other group would be waiting for us in the heat at the end but we both arrived at the end at almost exactly the same time.  We got back to the RV . . . Utterly exhausted and taking some truly inspired naps!

In the evening, we had a late dinner and then went to the Archeoastronomy Talk by the Ranger.  It was fantastic.  We even got to see some cool things in their telescopes.

When we got back to camp, we packed up as much as we could (while it was cool!).  For tomorrow we head to Durango!


  1. Wow! These have all been just outstanding to read. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Those petroglyphs are very cool.

  3. Chaco Canyon is an amazing place. The petroglyphs and pictographs were well worth the hike in the heat. We will definitely go back.