Our visit to the Four Corners region of Northwestern New Mexico certainly left us as travelers in the other-wordly. Reaching the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness (pronounced Bis-tie), commonly known as the badlands. Over 41,000 acres of the bizarre awaited us as we approached the wasteland after traveling miles of washboard riddled dirt roads. As we finally approached the onset of the wilderness we were captivated in the absolute barren landscape that was quietly observing our entry…
This wasteland was once the bottom of an ancient sea after after the water’s death and the subsequent exposure the lands are now made of sandstone, mudstone and shale. In parts the ground a soft ash-like consistency leaving one to feel as if they are leaving their footprints in the moon dust and then you cross terrain into others that are so drought ridden all that remains is the cracked gasps of the soil and chips of the tree that once used to thrive in its fertility.
In parts the lands looked life they were bleeding and in others it was as if the bones of ancients were thrown to read the fortunes of the gods of next….
A final hike up one of the larger hills was only proof that we had only scraped the dusty surface of this wilderness. Making the final selections for this location will prove to be a great task.
From there it was on to the Chaco Culture National Historic Park to walk amongst the ruins of a once thriving culture living here more than 1,000 years ago…
The Chacoan people built more than 150 Great Houses in the region, connecting them with over 400 miles of road systems, some of which were carved over the flat mesas that sweep the landscape. Due to the superior work of the Chacoan masons the Chaco Culture is both a dedicated National Historic Park and had archeological discovery and preservation efforts made by both the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Institute in the 1920’s
A nine mile paves driving loops networks the most well preserved and accessible ruins in the area guiding visitors into lands colored in once thriving homes and markets backdropped by petroglyph colored mountain faces.
Entering the largest of the Great Houses, Pueblo Bonito the sense of the activity this city center must have held during the peak of the Chacoan’s residence here. So well made and preserved a labyrinth of rooms are available to enter and navigate and we were immediately stunned with how little the doorways allowed for…
We have an additional trip to the Chaco Culture area a bit later this year witness the captivating beauty that prompted this to be one of few parks officially acknowledged as International Night Sky Parks.
Our final day in Northwest Corner of these enchanting lands found us at an impromptu location visit to Shiprock, New Mexico. Only managed by the Navajo Nation, who banned any more attempts to climb this 7,700 ft. mountain in 1970, this amazing geological feature felt in complete isolation…
Known as the winged rock the lore behind this mountain and the spiny ridge extending from it call for great stories of a battle between bird and dragon that have a battle radius spanning to Cabezon Peak, 175 miles away.
In reference of its origin and makeup it is the actual core of an ancient volcano that once thrived in this area that has been only revealed through simple exposure.
A short hike to the base and the isolation drifted into activity of a variety of desert creatures looking quite shocked to hear and see a early morning visitor. Looking out over miles of emptiness it was a beautiful experience to sit here and reflect on all that we had seen and been drawn to on this step of our journey.
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Until the next location….