Days 7-9: Chaco Culture National Historic Park

A highlight of our trip so far – even though it has only been a week – has been the incredible visit to Chaco Culture NHP. The day and a half we spent exploring and hiking around the sites were full of wonder and awe at the incredible legacy of the Chacoans and the intelligent design of their amazing buildings and infrastructure (from 850-1250 AD). We started off on the right foot by going on a guided tour with Ranger G.B. Cornucopia (yes, that is his name… which stands for Great Bear, Gentle Ben, or Gray Beard, depending on when you knew him). GB has been a ranger at Chaco for 30 years! He shared his love and regard for the culture, history, and astronomy of the Chaco people in a warm and humorous way with the best responses – our favorite, that any answer to questions asked about the people was at best, informed speculation.

The night cleared of clouds on Saturday, and they had telescopes set up to view the moon and Jupiter, and (in the morning), the sun.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. The first set is of the largest building, Pueblo Bonita.

The hikes to see the petroglyphs and pictographs were well worth the views along the way as well…


Two of the 3 pictographs are evident, but that the star was actually a supernova viewed in 1054 and the moon was in the crescent phase when that occurred. 

We have both vowed to return again – perhaps on the summer solstice, when the tribes come and dance and feast.

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