On Saturday we started our day at the Anasazi Heritage Center. It is the gateway to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. The center is an excellent museum with many interesting displays about Ancestral Puebloen life on the Great Sage Plain. We walked along the 1/2 mile path to see a view of the McPhee Reservoir.
This bush called a Gambel Oak was growing all along the trail. I never realized oak could grow as a bush. I’ve only ever seen oak as very large trees. The leaves had the same shape as those of an oak tree only smaller.
This mountain is called Sleeping Ute Mountain. Legend has it the mountain is a sleeping warrior god and some day he’ll wake up and help the Ute people again. His head is on the right, the large hump are his folded arms, further down are his knee and then his foot. The next picture is the same mountain from the other side. Now his head is on the left. For some reason, I’m fascinated with natural wonders that are supposed to be in the shape of something else. I look for shapes in clouds, too :)
Canyon of the Ancients National Monument was established in 2000 and covers 166,000 acres. More than 6,000 archaeological sites have been recorded. This area has the highest known archaeological site density in the nation. We drove through a good portion of it. I’ve never seen so much sage and juniper.
We visited Lowry Pueblo which is the only developed site within the monument. It has been excavated to give visitors a chance to see the 40 rooms at this site. A roof has been added to help preserve the site. Otherwise, it looks much as it did when it was excavated.
Visitors are allowed to go inside through small doorways. These people were small. Average height for men was 5’3” and for women 5’1”.
This is a kiva inside the structure. A kiva was a large room used for ceremonies and group events.
There was also a large kiva. The stones on the floor represent a winter and summer figure.
Our last stop was the Hovenweep National Monument. This is a canyon with a number of towers built by the Pueblo people about 700 years ago. The masonry skills of these people is amazing. There are a number of different sized towers along this canyon suggesting there was an entire community living here.
It was another beautiful day with temperatures in the upper 60s.
Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!