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I had wanted to visit Chaco Canyon for over 30 years. It’s near the Four Corners area of the USA, about two and a half hours from ABQ. The road is paved except for about 12 miles of unpaved washboard (corrugations) which challenged my new Subaru Forrester (rattle….rattle).

The “Ancient Ones” lived here from 800-1200 AD. The alternative name “Anasazi” is derived from a Navajo word, and is not used by the Pueblo people. The largest of the pueblos in Chaco is Pueblo Bonito. The people who lived here were a head taller than people living in several other locations in Chaco Canyon, which suggests healthier denizens (i.e. better food), and perhaps an upper or ruling class.

The building was up to five stories high.… More

In past eons, a lot of volcanic activity has occurred in New Mexico. Albuquerque (ABQ) is situated on a tremendous rift valley: the Rio Grande rift. There are whole mountains that used to be volcanoes (e.g., Mt Taylor and Valles Caldera in the Jemez). Also, there are hot springs. And there are 50 volcanic plugs or necks, where molten magma extruded from the earth’s crust at a local point, cooled, and became basalt rock.

There are black lava beds (El Malpais) that once flowed for miles from active volcanoes, then cooled into solid immovable rock. You can hike on them, but the rock is sharp and treacherous. If you fall into one of the many large fissures your bones may never be found.… More

One recent Saturday, I went on a tour of an ancient Chaco Indian site, near Grants, New Mexico. Here lived early ancestors (Anasazi) of modern Pueblo Indians. Their civilization lasted from 950 AD to 130 AD, before abruptly disappearing. All that is left are the ruins of their houses and kivas, pottery shards, and an occasional skeleton.… More

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