October 11, 2021, Cuba, NM- The message was unequivocal, as I drove past the highway that led to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and towards Farmington: “We are giving you THIS day, to honour the ancestors!” I turned around, and drove towards Chaco, promising myself that I would not continue along the unpaved road that led to the place, if there were any spots with high centers or jagged rocks that would reach up and take a bite out of the rental car’s oil pan or gas tank.
I needn’t have worried. There were spots with mild washboard, but nothing that harmed the Chevy Malibu. My new friends, Michael and Pat, were less fortunate, losing a water jug to the one spot on the road that had a hairline rupture and shook their vehicle. I think I went over that spot at 10 mph. Probably, the harbinger for what turned out to be an excellent observance of Indigenous People’s Day was this sight, along NM Highway.
Another half-mile along, a friendly rancher had arranged this greeting.
Today’s visit brought me to Hungo Pavi, Chetro Ketl and Pueblo Bonito. The above, and the next two photos, feature Hungo Pavi.
I moved along to Chetro Ketl, one of the four clusters of buildings in Chaco that use a mix of round and square.. Chetro is located directly west of a fine collection of petroglyphs. Here is one of these.
As large as Hungo Pavi and Chetro Ketl were, they were mere suburbs of Pueblo Bonito. The central community was also the major trading hub for the Four Corners region, and likely as important to the commerce of at least the western half of North America, as Cahokia and Serpent Mound were to the east. Here are three views of that enormous place.
I will be back in this phenomenal place, perhaps as early as December. The spiritual and historical significance of Chaco Canyon, to both those who settled here and those who came after, is still being realized.