Friday, June 14, 2019

Gallup and Chaco Canyon

Entrance to Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Part 2 of our current Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado Love Your Parks Tour Road Trip adventure.

The month of June started with an early early morning drive from the Historic El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The scenery was stunning with rugged rocks and cliffs contrasted by a lush palette of green vegetation, colorful sprinkles of wildflowers and a big, bright blue sky. The road got a little bit rocky at one point, but us gals love dirt roads! Besides, there were cows and horses to visit with on the way.

What a view he has! 
Pueblo you see the face in this picture or is it just me?!
Along with being a Dark Skies certified location and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chaco Culture NHP was founded as an Antiquities Monument in 1907, and was operated for most of the 20th century as an anthropological storehouse of knowledge and evidence of the Chacoan Culture. Let me tell you, this park is one big mind and soul blowing experience! 
Park Ranger GB Cornucopia teaches us about Hungo Pavi 
The park preserves eleven hand built pueblos, also known as ceremonial structures. They’re a historical trace of the sacred ancestral Chacoan culture, which is part of many of the existing pueblos of the Southwest. After a quick stop at the Visitors Center, we joined the amazing Park Ranger GB Cornucopia on a group tour of Hungo Pavi, an unexcavated Chacoan great house that once had over 150 rooms, a great kiva, and an enclosed plaza. 
Pueblo Bonita
How did the Chacoans build these structures? Especially the circular structures. The epicenter of the Chacoan world, Pueblo Bonita was planned and constructed in stages by ancestral Puebloan peoples between AD 850 to AD 1150.
Picnic Time! 

After more exploring we ended our time at Chaco with a nice picnic lunch, and then stopped by the Visitors Center again to get our Park Passport Book stamped. Of course, the adventure didn't end here....we managed to get turned around on our way out of the park! Getting lost has its rewards though - we saw more spectacular scenery, horses and cows!
The "Giddy Up" Detour Route to Gallup
Once back in Gallup we spent a little time at the We The People Park that had all kinds of fun sculptures and a nice walking / jogging trail.
Rock Concert Sculpture!
Then it was time to explore Downtown Gallup to see the murals and then experience the famous Summer Indian Dances at the Courthouse Plaza. They played such beautiful music, taught us all about Native American culture and the different dances. I'll never forget our visit to Gallup and Chaco.

If you want to hear more about our Chaco and Gallup experience, listen to this recent Big Blend Radio interview on featuring Tanya Ortega - National Parks Arts Foundation, Park Ranger Nathan Hatfield, Hollywood Historian Steve Schneickert, and visual artist Dawnja Burris.

See our Chaco Culture Video on YouTube.

Today we're in beautiful and historic Florence, Colorado known as the "Antique Capital of Colorado." We leave for Santa Fe, New Mexico on Monday.

Giddy Up,
Miss P.

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