During our recent desert SW vacation we paid a visit to the Pueblo ruins at Chaco Canyon, located in northwestern New Mexico. In 1987 this site was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List… “the honor recognizes the uniqueness of the civilization centered at Chaco Canyon from 850AD to 1250AD, the park is one of only twenty World heritage sites in the United States.”
These plants caught my eye at the visitor’s center, can anyone identify them? We first we looked at the ruins of Chetro Ketl (The meaning and origin of this name are unknown). This is large Kiva in front of Chetro Ketl. The larger of the two ruins we visited was Pueblo Bonito, which was unearthed and preserved by seven expeditions (1920-27) of the National Geographic Society. The expeditions removed 100,000 tons of rubble and sand accumulated over the centuries. They also reconstructed parts of walls that had been destroyed to match the ancient masonry. From the National Park Service website on the subject of the original construction… “Using masonry techniques unique for their time, they constructed massive stone buildings (Great Houses) of multiple stories containing hundreds of rooms much larger than any they had previously built. The buildings were planned from the start, in contrast to the usual practiced of adding rooms to existing structures as needed. Constructions on some of these buildings spanned decades and even centuries.” Yes you read that right. Built between 850AD-1250AD these huge structures were multiple stories high and contained hundreds of rooms. Building materials (like the wooden logs used to support ceilings and floors) had to be brought in over hundreds of miles. The question of “where did they go” and “why did they choose to build here” was often repeated on park literature and by the Park Ranger who was giving a guided tour that we happened upon. While Andrew stayed with the tour for a bit I wandered off on my own to explore, this little guy was not at all camera shy. Here you can see the remains of the wooden beams which sported additional floors. Another plant I can't identify, although I suspect it may be the same as the first plant in this post, with less blooms... Leaving the park we saw this Elk munching next to the road, his harem was waiting nearby.