20 June 2009

NAVAJO NATIONAL MONUMENT-THE ANASAZI

We continue our cleanup operations here at the ranch. But, my biggest challenge this week was trying to get my irrigation system up and watering. Every time I think I've got everything set I turn on the pump and another pipe springs a leak. And, every time I make a repair the cement wants me to wait at least 24 hours before turning the pump on again. Thank goodness the monsoon has finally arrived buying me a little time.

Needless to say I didn't have time for us to have an adventure. Koty's nose is well and truly bent out of shape. He lives for our outings.

Instead I return to our adventures in Monument Valley. The day was March 22nd 2009 and I decided we should go take a look at the Navajo National Monument. Navajo National Monument features well-preserved ruins of villages left behind about 1300 by prehistoric Pueblo Indians -- the Kayenta Anasazi. Built and occupied for only 50 years, the ruins represent the final settlement of farmers who adapted to the area's scarce rainfall to grow crops, build houses and raise families, then mysteriously move on.

The main ruin, Betatakin, can be viewed from across the canyon via a very short walk or you can take a guided tour and go down into the canyon. The monument is at 7,300ft. and it was cold with ice and snow still on the ground. Koty wouldn't be allowed on the tour so we settled on the view from the top.

BETATAKIN RUIN

The Anasazi mystery is quite compelling. Nearly everyone one you talk to has a different theory as to why they built their villages where they did and what caused them to disappear. I wonder if they weren't just chased into obscurity by hostile forces (tribes). My sense is that these people were cliff dwellers out fear. Who or what they feared is anyone's guess.

BETATAKIN RUINS

Wandering around on the trail above the canyon I spied this cactus basking in the morning sun. I love to photograph native plants and I thought this lighting was quite nice.

CACTUS SUNNING

The landscapes here were quite stunning but then the landscapes everywhere in this area are breathtaking. If you like color the Four Corners is the place for you.

NAVAJO NATIONAL MONUMENT

We wandered around the trails for a time taking in all the beauty. One of the nice things about coming at this time of year is that you pretty much have the place to yourself which really lets one revel in the beauty and mystique. It's very peaceful and one can let their imagination run wild. I know mine did.

NAVAJO NATIONAL MONUMENT

On the way back to Goulding we found ourselves caught in a hellacious dust storm. By the time we got to the Goulding turn off I couldn't see two feet in front of me. I thanked the gods that the full force didn't strike until we were close to home. We made it up the hill to the RV park and hid in Clementine for the rest of the afternoon.

I have really never experienced anything like it. The wind blew so hard that the windows bowed and the red dust came pouring in. It didn't help that the park is located in a narrow canyon and the rigs have to park perpendicular to the walls so the wind just screamed down the canyon and broadsided us. It also didn't help that there were no rigs above us to make a windbreak. Poor Clemmie she took the blasts full on. I don't think we will ever get all of the red dust out of her. It permeated everything.

Monument Valley quite dramatically demonstrates the dichotomy that is the very nature of nature. One moment She will show you beauty that will break your heart and the next She will show you, in no uncertain terms, that beauty is a gift not a given.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

3 comments:

Robin Easton said...

These are simply gorgeous photos. I love exploring all the ruins. My husband and I usually go to one or two of the sites each summer. And then a couple that are very close by. I never tire of seeing them. We hope to get away for 4 nights and go see Mesa Verde this summer. He's seen it but I've not yet seen it and REALLY look forward to it. As you write here there are so many unanswered questions and mysteries that I just find intriguing. I also find great peace whenever I am around the ruins and NEVER want to leave. In fact I often want to move right in. I especially love some of the kivas, the way the light shafts through the opening and the cool down beneath the earth like that. Wonderful.

I hope you are doing well, we both are armpit deep in work, but otherwise well. Hugs, Robin

Michelle (artscapes) said...

Kinsey! These are gorgeous images... and the sandstorm sounded brutal.

When we were parked right on the edge of the ocean in PEI, they had a wicked wind storm. They say it is always windy in PEI, but this one was something fierce - even to the locals. We were parked with our levelers down and faced into the wind and we were still being moved all over the place. And we are in a class A!

I have watched a few documentaries on the Anasazi, but your theory about fear sounds so logical and likely. If I we not afraid, I'd live next to my fields. Not in a cliff...

kotybear said...

Michelle:

I am totally with you on where I would live if I weren't afraid of something. My theory is the Anasazi, being the peaceful agrarians that they were, fell victim to tribes of a different stripe.

I recently saw, on the History Channel, a documentary about the Mayans. Over the years there have been many theories but now it is believed they literally annihilated themselves with their warring ways.