Chaco Canyon Sun Dagger

Chaco Canyon Fajada Butte

My husband and I decided we needed to get out of the house for a bit last weekend, so we decided to go back to Chaco Canyon for an evening of camping. Chaco Canyon is the site of an ancient Pueblo civilization and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The buildings were built as structured plans from the beginning of groundbreaking, rather than the plans being added to over time and were built between 800 AD and 1150 AD.  Researchers are not fully clear on what Chaco stood for, but the clues they behind are still being analyzed.

The vastness of New Mexico near Chaco Canyon

Friday afternoon I checked the weather reports (which indicated perfect weather for just such an adventure) and began packing the bags. Saturday morning we headed out hoping to set up camp and get some hiking in before dusk. It takes around 3.5 hours to drive from Albuquerque to Chaco Canyon and along the drive the clouds began to stack up. By the time we arrived at Chaco the temperature was in the mid-40’s (F) and dropping. We went ahead and set up camp as we had driven a long way and paid the camping fee already and then set out for a hike. As we hiked the temperature continued to drop and by the time we had finished cooking some food it had turned miserably cold. We lit a fire and began to discuss what to do next. We eventually decided that I would sleep in the car with Picard and Ryan would sleep in the tent with an extra blanket since he didn’t fit into the car with us. We laid down the back seats of the Subaru and moved my sleeping bag.

Chaco Canyon Snowy Hillside

While we were waiting for the fire to burn down so we could turn in for the night a neighboring campsite began to play music. A wooden flute began first, followed by a single drum. Suddenly the evening in this sacred place became magical. Both the music and our fire slowly died down and we headed off to bed, but the evening was made infinitely better by the neighbors we never met.

BTW: I took this photo with my iPhone and have not altered anything one bit. Isn’t this place stunning?

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