Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

The Canyons of the Ancients

Hovenweep National Monument, Colorado/Utah Border

Cortez has four nice tennis courts just next to the municipal library. In the Firecloud Vs. Firecloud match, I lost 6-1, 6-1. I'm starting to think I'm overmatched. I had better luck in the library, where they sell surplus books by the pound (four pounds, four dollars).

After tennis we drove to the Canyons of the Ancients, a large area with over 10,000 indian ruins. We hiked a 3 mile loop at the Hovenweep National Monument around the rim of a canyon with numerous ruins. Hovenweep is a Ute word meaning "deserted valley".

These dwellings were deserted in 1276 A.D., about the same time as those in Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Bandlier and all the other ancient ruins we have visited in this four state area. It's a dark mystery. Perhaps some kind of mass hallucination was the cause. Maybe some unknown but very dangerous creaturs awaken from a long hibernation every few thousand years and slaughter villagers indiscriminately. Maybe it was climate change or UFOs.

The square towers are unusual. The have small windows allowing sunlight in on the solstices and equinoxes.

We're heading to Monument Valley in the middle of the huge Navajo Reservation. That's the place with all the weird spires where they used to make cowboy movies. "Forrest Gump" stopped running there on highway 163. "Easy Rider" had a few scenes from the valley early in the movie. Clark Griswald's station wagon fell apart here in "National Lampoon's Family Vacation". Robert Blake played an Arizona motorcycle cop here in the movie "Electraglide in Blue". We'll camp at Goulding's Trading Post in the Reservation and hope for some good pix.

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