Chaco Canyon

Visited 2017.11.15
Northwest New Mexico

Chaco Canyon hosts what is described as “the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest.” It’s really an amazing place to visit, and I definitely wasn’t prepared for how expansive the site was. I arrived in the late afternoon under overcast skies, which left me hoping I could revisit it someday with more daylight hours, to better explore everything I may have missed.

What I did manage to see in the time I had, really gave me a better sense of the fact that whole cultures and civilizations have come and gone before us, and nothing is permanent. This was really the first time I’d been in the presence of sizable ancient ruins like this, and it definitely puts some things in perspective. It's one thing to read about a place like this in a book, and another to stand on the same ground as those that came before us and feel their presence through things like buildings and drawings – things that resonate with me as a former builder and an artist.

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The age of the structures can be determined by the stone laying techniques used, which evolved over centuries.

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An artist's rendering of the site as it would have looked when inhabited.

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I saw this sign leaving the site. Funny, there wasn't one on the way in from the Reservation to warn me what I was getting into. That was not a fun drive.