MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Community News Network

October 8, 2013

Four Corners desert tells story of the Southwest

(Continued)

Mark and Ricky were dressed more or less like cowboys: bluejeans, snap shirts and cowboy boots. They wouldn't stray from this clothing choice for the remainder of the trip.

Mark turned out the lights and showed us some slides and gave us an overview of the region and told us what we were going to see, and I didn't really understand a word of it. (He used lots of archaeological words. I would later purchase a book he wrote and not understand any of that, either.)

The next morning, we headed for Chaco Canyon. This is a place that looks like something you'd expect to find in the deserts of North Africa. Yet here, for 400 years, from the 9th to the 13th centuries, the complex civilization of the Ancestral Pueblo, or Anasazi, once thrived. Our very own Timbuktu.

Getting to Chaco is no easy task. We drive on small farm roads, cross from Colorado into New Mexico, turn off onto a hardpan dirt road, and then drive for 20 excruciating miles. Our two vans vibrate as if they're going to crumble to death at any moment, as dust swirls in the air. Mark and Ricky use the van's intercom to explain everything that we'd be seeing if we weren't driving through a dust cloud. And I mean everything. Trees, rocks, plants, weeds, weather, buttes, mesas, ancient riverbeds, wildlife — being an archaeologist apparently makes one an expert on just about everything.

For a brief moment, the dust clouds part, and I point off to the right at an octagonal structure residing next to a trailer home and two red pickup trucks.

"Is that a hogan?" I ask. I'm already starting to pick up the lingo. Yesterday I would have seen just a trailer home. Now I know a hogan to be a traditional Navajo dwelling, the door to which always points east.

Text Only
Community News Network
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks