Eli's Western Adventure I
One of our grandsons, Eli, short for Elijah, visited us from North Carolina in July. He's a westernaholic through and through, so we treated him to a few travel adventures in addition to local scenery and hikes.
Our first adventure was a trip to southwestern Colorado and Mesa Verde, Four Corners and Durango to ride the narrow gauge train to Silverton. While the entire area is breath-taking in its beauty, the Mesa Verde excursion was probably the most interesting.
Our first stop was the Mesa Verde Visitors' Center where we passed this beautiful bronze sculpture depicting someone climbing a cliff wall. I had to be a camera jockey instead of a snap shooter, so you see a starburst rather than the climber.
Moving on and keeping this short, we begin with an image of Eli at the Cliff Palace site, the largest of approximately six hundred dwellings in the area.
Anthropologists and archeologists no longer refer to the builders of these sites as Anasazi which means "ancient ones" in Navajo terms. It is now thought that they were ancestors to other present day Indian tribes including Hopi, Zuni, Navajo and others, hence the scientific term, Ancestral Puebloans. I did not use the term "native American" intentionally because we were told that the people still refer to themselves as Indians. Their origin is still debated; however, they occupied the Four Corners area MUCH longer than Europeans have been in the Western Hemisphere.
Here is a view across the Cliff Palace site, so named by the rancher who discovered it in the late 1880s.
The occupants of these sites used the mesas above the dwellings for farming, and they hunted the mesas and the valleys. Food was stored in the dwellings. Judging from the quality of the masonry, there were master craftsmen among these people. The cylindrical openings are kivas which were probably used as ceremonial sites. Like other Southwestern tribes, they traded. Shells from as far away as the Gulf of Mexico have been found here.
In this image from the Spruce Tree site, you can see a covered kiva with a ladder leading down into it. You can also see supporting logs projecting out from the walls in the background.
That's it! All in all, a fascinating adventure for Eli and a great insight into the lives and survival skills of an ancient culture.
Enjoyed. Nice family documentation. Handsome dude!
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