Grace's Fall Break – Trip to Chaco Canyon

Grace’s Fall Break – Trip to Chaco Canyon – Days 1 – 3

Part 1: Trip data

Destination: El Malpais National Conservation Area and Monument & El Morro National Monument
Traveled with: Mom and Dad
Traveled from: Tucson
Maps: Arizona and New Mexico Gazetteer, GPS, Maps my Dad printed from internet
During Fall Break I went to El Morro National Monument, El Malpais National Monument, Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Aztec Ruins, and Hubble Trading Post. I also went to one place that wasn’t part of the National Park system, Four Corners Tribal Park Monument.
I became a Junior Ranger at all of the National Park places. That is SIX Junior Rangers badges.
The first park I got a Junior Ranger badge at was El Morro which means in Spanish a butte or rock. At El Morro, you take a trail called, Inscription Trail.
On the trail there is a pool. We saw cliff swallows nests which are made of mud.
There are tons of inscriptions and petroglyphs. Inscriptions are carvings in rocks that are done by the Spanish and English explorers. Petroglyphs are carvings done by Ancient Indians. Graffiti is modern day inscriptions and is illegal.
The first English inscription was inscribed by a man named Lt. JHSimpson who copied down all the inscriptions by hand. He was an amazing artist, because his drawings were as good as any photograph today. At the time the inscriptions where in Spanish. The funny thing is his inscription read:
Lt. JHSimpson, USA u RH.Kern Artist
visited and copied these insciptions,
September 18th 1849.
So, the first English inscription has a miss spelled word.
To bad he didn’t have a spell checker.
At El Morro it was interesting to see the inscriptions.

 

El Malpais is a lava flow. There are five layers of flow. The layers are McCartys Crater, Bandera Crater, Cerro Hoya, El Calderon, Twin Craters.
We drove through “The Narrows.” It is where the lava just stops right next to the cliffs. There is only enough room for a two lane road, between the flow and cliffs.

 

 

We stopped at La Ventana Arch.
It was really cool. They made a big deal out of the me becoming a Junior Ranger.
Both rangers came outside and one swore me in. It was AWESOME!!!
Days 3 – 6

 

Chaco Culture was the main stop on our trip.

On the first day we went to Una Vida. It is one of the first great houses built in Chaco Canyon. Now it looks small, but in the 900’s it was very big!!

 

On the second day, I hiked 8 miles to see the Supernova pictograph.
On the way there was a Petroglyph side trail. We took it and here are some of the Petroglyphs.

 

The square is a Kachina. I think this is really cool!!

 

 

Under the Supernova Pictograph there was a petroglyph of Halley’s comet. The hike was long, and my mom got lots of blisters on her feet to prove it.

 

On the bluff above there were ruins called Penasco Blanco.
On the third day, we went to Hungo Pavi, Chetro Ketl, Pueblo Bonito, Pueblo de Arroyo, and Casa Rinconada.
Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonito is the town square. It is Huge!!! It was first to be built and the last to be completed. On January 22, 1941 a rock face fell on an 8th of Pueblo Bonito. Here are some pictures of Pueblo Bonito!

 

 

This is a drawing of the different stages of building at Pueblo Bonito.

 

 

The famous curving doors of Pueblo Bonito. Awesome!!
This is the original wood ceiling beams in this one room of Pueblo Bonito. The room has original plaster, but the park service plastered over it, because people were vandalizing it. There was a lot of that kind of stuff here. It made me sad.
This is a rare corner door.
Chetro Ketl

 

Here is the “Great Wall” at Chetro Ketl. Which is another great house about 1/2 mile from Pueblo Bonito.

 

These are original mosaics that are blocked off, but a nice park service ranger came by and opened the door to the room, so we could get a better look. He told us there were several other examples in the park, but they have closed them off to visitors for safe keeping.
Casa Rinconada
My favorite of all the ruins!!!

 

Casa Rinconada is a Great Kiva. On the summer solstice a light shines on a niche on the wall. A Great Kiva is a ceremony room sort of like a church.

 

Pueblo de Arroyo

 

This a “tri-wall” or triple walled kiva. They are rare and only a dozen have been found in the four corners area. This is the only one at Chaco.
These mealing bins have metate’s in them. The women would sit down with feet against the wall and knees against the mealing bin and grind corn.
Chacoan Stairway
Chacoan stairways were carved into rocks. They have found many stairways around Chaco Canyon.
Chaco was Awesome!!!
Days 7 – 9

On Friday morning we

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packed up and left Chaco Canyon.

 

Here are Felicty and Gracie dressed for a Land Rover Safari Adventure.

 

We headed toward Farmingtion, NM, when my parents realized that Aztec ruins was just another 10 miles up the road.

This is kind of weird. The band of blackish/greenish rocks. I have never seen this before. It is especially interesting because they plastered over it. So, why did they do it?

The people of Aztec had two Great Kivas. One of the Great Kivas was reconstructed and we were able to go into the kiva. It might have been what kivas looked like a 1000 years ago. There are three types of Kivas. Great Kivas, Keyhole Kivas, and Housed Kivas. Great Kivas are really big.

This is an original ladder from Aztec ruins. I always thought of the Sante Fe ladder, but these were very common in both Aztec and Chaco. In Chaco there were no ladders left, because they were scavenged for firewood. Another thing that makes me sad.

After visiting Aztec Ruins we went to Four Corners Monument. Four Corners is where Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico all meet in one place.

It was really fun. You can say “I’m in AZ, no wait, NM, no wait, CO, no wait, UT, no wait, I am in them all.

After Four Corners we headed to Canyon de Chelly. We got there after dark and camped at the campground.

 

 

We drove the south rim of Canyon de Chelly the next morning and I heard all about the time my parent’s got to camp at the base of Spider Rock. Maybe someday I will get to do that.

Our next and last stop was Hubble Trading Post.

We were lucky enough to get to go inside the Hubble House. Here I am in the entrance way.

This is bread oven. I think they said they baked 250 loaves of bread a week in this oven.

Cool Barn!! Sometimes they had up to 10,000 sheep here! I bet that was stinky!!

Here I am with my 6 Junior Ranger Badges and patches.

The last night we spent at our friend’s cabin in Show Low, AZ. We are so glad we could stay there in comfort and hot showers after 8 long days in the Dormobile. Thanks Tom and Jane.

I had an awesome time. On to our next adventure!!!

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Comments

  1. Aunt Irene says:

    Great job Grace! I love our National Parks. It is great that you and your parents are getting around to some of them. Looks like you had great fun.

  2. Looks like a great trip. Let me ask is there electricity for an old guy?

  3. LRhomberg says:

    I know you had a good time, and what a great learning experience. We saw Chaco canyon on a PBS special last Sunday, I think we may need to go there some day. I love your graffiti comment.

  4. Looks like a great trip! I'm so jealous of all the travelling you get to do.

    The insc[r]iption with the misspelling is pretty funny. If you want to see some guys who needed a spell checker, check out the journals from the Lewis & Clark expedition. They were very creative with their spelling!

  5. valandcase says:

    How fun! We love reading your blog and the pictures are awesome! Can't wait for the next one 🙂

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