A Little More Colorado!

We spent the last half of our “cool” vacation at Navajo State park on the Colorado side of the border with New Mexico. 
Both states have parks along this 35 mile long reservoir.  The primary purpose of the1962 dam and reservoir is to provide water to the Navajo Indian Reservation.  Recreation is a nice by-product.
We moved mid stay to have a lake side view!
We walked the trails daily and saw lots and lots of deer!

Occasionally we’d see something else.  This is an old water tank for the steam engines on the old railroad line between Chama and Durango.

I ALWAYS look for snakes as we wander trails because I dislike them so much.  I saw four snakes on this vacation – two alive and two dead.  I thought this was my fifth until I saw it was a USB to iPhone cord.  Whew!!  We took it home to live again.

One morning we saw all these fish congregating along the bank for about 300 yards!  We caught THE day the carp were spawning!   When the water temperature is right (73 degrees) it all happens in one day.    Two days later the eggs hatch.

We did get in the truck a couple times to go exploring!  Chimney Rock became a national monument in 2012, one of only 11 national park sites that are managed by the US Forest Service.   

Over 200 structures, or former structures, are evident within the monument. Some have been excavated and stabilized.  Large archeology efforts were made in 1921 and 1971.

The Ancient Pueblo people lived here from 925 to 1125 AD.  They were part of a larger network that centered in Chaco Canyon, 100 miles southwest.     Within the network, the Chimney Rock community was the most remote and highest in elevation.

Architecture and pottery similarities establish that Chaco relationship for archeologists. The wall under the shelter above is the only section of original wall available for viewing.  Other areas have been rebuilt (using original stones as possible) and stabilized with concrete.  When in use, the walls and roofs would have had a covering of adobe.

We accessed self guided tours to both sections of the national monument.   The first was Mesa Village containing home sites and a grand kiva.  The path is paved and the audio tour is well done. During non-covid times, guided tours are available.

The second section is the Great House Pueblo Trail.  The trail is a bit adventurous with rock/gravel footing,  steep drop-offs and gorgeous views.

“Do not go beyond this point” – even you Randy!
The Piedra river valley below was used for agriculture, then and now!

Evidence exists of large fires at the Great House site.  They are thought to have been signals to a community on Huerfano Mesa approximately 30 miles away.  From there signals could be sent to Chaco Canyon.

The Great House appears to have had ceremonial purpose instead of residential.  Archeologists estimate no more than 10 people lived in this part of the site.  Many rooms were empty, thought to be guest rooms occupied only when special gatherings took place.

There were normal ceremonial gatherings and then there was the Northern Major Lunar Standstill gatherings.  Of course they didn’t call it that. Once every 18.6 years the moon rises between the two rock pinnacles, as viewed from the Great House.   During occupation of the site, those dates would have included AD 1076 and AD 1093.   Wooden beam datings have corresponded to those dates.

The next cycle of the Northern Major Lunar Standstill will occur in 2024-25.  Maybe we’ll have to come back to see it, and maybe by then I’ll understand it.  I looked for a simple, brief explanation for the blog and nothing was simple or brief!

Although the monument is called Chimney Rock, that is the name of the spire on the right.   The one on the left is called Companion Rock.

Peregrine Falcons return to nest at Companion Rock each year.  We didn’t see falcons, but we did see evidence.

Beyond our exploring and relaxing, Handy Randy spent considerable time trying to fix leaks in our shower.   We had a cracked shower pan replaced under warranty a number of years ago and it is such poor quality that we are hesitant to use it again.We’d like to install a residential grade shower.  

That discussion led to a few other things we’d like to do – like resurface the splitting desk top, replace the carpet with a vinyl “wood” floor, and a few others.   We have appointments with two RV renovation companies to look at possibilities.

This three week trip has been great and reminds us that we really do like traveling in our fifth-wheel.  Randy is ready to sell the house and go full timing again but I’m hesitant.  We spent the last year getting our house just how we like it.  I’d like the best of both worlds!

About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
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3 Responses to A Little More Colorado!

  1. Kim Goehring says:

    It’s beautiful

  2. Catie says:

    When Gord and I spent the day in Chaco , we were continually amazed at how the wooden beams arrived back then. The buildings were built prior to the wheel invention and trees are not very common around the canyon. It is a very special place. Next time we will tour Chimney Rock.
    Once again, thannks for sharing.

  3. This is such a beautiful area. I’ve never seen fish spawning like that. I’m interested in hearing how the “sell the house” debate ends!

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