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Kin Klizhin, NM

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43 6 3
Guide 6 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Northwest
Rated
4
4 of 5 by 4
 
2
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
Statistics
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 1.33 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,068 feet
Elevation Gain 29 feet
Accumulated Gain 44 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 1.55
Interest Ruins & Historic
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
13  2011-06-19 PaleoRob
15  2011-06-19 Trishness
12  2011-06-19
Kin Bineola
Trishness
3  2011-06-19 squatpuke
40  2011-06-18
Chaco Culture National Historical Park Trails
Randal_Schulhaus
12  2010-06-19 Randal_Schulhaus
60  2010-06-18
Chaco Culture National Historical Park Trails
Randal_Schulhaus
Author Randal_Schulhauser
author avatar Guides 71
Routes 98
Photos 9,967
Trips 1,009 map ( 9,248 miles )
Age 59 Male Gender
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Mar → Early
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:59am - 6:11pm
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Culture Nearby
Gambler Tales and the dark side of Black House
by Randal_Schulhauser

Overview: Kin Klizhin is one of several major Chacoan outliers that are protected by the National Park Service at Chaco Culture National Historic Park. This site actually lies within an isolated section of CCNHP that is separate and detached from the main section of the park. "Kin Klizhin" means "Black Charcoal House" in the Navajo language.


History (part 1): Kin Klizhin is a small Chacoan great house that lies about 7 miles south and west of the South Gap entrance to "downtown" Chaco Canyon connected by a major Chacoan Road. Tree-ring dates collected by Florence Hawley in 1932 indicate that a major construction period occurred about A.D. 1087. This indicates that this Chacoan tower kiva site pre-dates the other prominent tower kiva site, Kin Ya'a, by about 19 years. Great Houses are thought to be ceremonial centers utilized by many surrounding communities. The Kin Klizhin Wash shows evidence of earthen dams and primitive irrigation canals thought to sustain an agricultural community. The tower kiva is located in the central part of the building at the back west wall standing 4 stories tall. The 15 foot diameter circular kiva was surrounded within a solidly-filled, rectangular masonry enclosure, adding to the massiveness and stability of the tower. Today, the walls of the tower kiva stand 28 feet above the ground. The interior of the tower kiva may have contained 3 or 4 floors and had a very special ceremonial function (more on this later...). Four stacked kivas may have been symbolic of the 4 worlds central to Puebloan belief. Some researchers suggest that the towering structures may have been used for signaling to other communities. Less than a dozen tower kivas are known to exist in the Chacoan world, several of them located just south of the Chaco Canyon core. They occur late in Chacoan times. The great house is fronted on the east by a D-shaped plaza enclosed by a wall. Most of this wall is covered by wind-blown sand and reduced to fallen, scattered masonry. The plaza does not appear to contain any structures. Plazas are important areas at modern pueblos, where many activities take place; public ceremonies, trading, community gatherings, and daily activities. Aerial photographs reveal that a prehistoric roadway passes Kin Klizhin. This road originates in Chaco Canyon, heading south from South Gap (a natural break in the mesa). After leaving the gap, the road turns west and leads directly to Kin Klizhin. From Kin Klizhin the road continues due west to the Kin Bineola Valley and passes one mile north of Kin Bineola great house. Outliers share many of the typical Chacoan traits, such as architecture, masonry, roads, great kivas, enclosed plazas, pottery, etc. Some researchers believe the outliers were established by the people of Chaco Canyon as they expanded their world and influence into surrounding areas. Others believe that local populations embraced the Chacoan world and culture and emulated the great houses and their impressive architecture. The relationship between the outliers and the people of Chaco Canyon is not well understood. Were the outliers independent or did they support and serve the people in the core?

History (part 2): Kin Klizhin is forever tied to the Navajo myth about "Noqoilpi" (The Gambler). According to Navajo oral tradition, the Gambler rode on a large reptile and enslaved humans who lost in games of chance to him. In debt to the Gambler, the enslaved were forever tasked with constructing great houses like those found in Chaco. Those that failed in their task were assembled at Kin Klizhin, "a dark place" where the Gambler came "to swallow their souls." Further interpretation is left to the reader's imagination...

Hike: As you leave the Visitor Center at Chaco Culture National Historic Park, travel 3 miles south on Route 57 and then another 9 miles west on an unnamed double-track. The unnamed double-track passes south of South Mesa and West Mesa roughly paralleling an ancient Chacoan road. As you dip into Kin Klizhin Wash at about mile 12, you'll spot the ruins to the south on a rise within the flood plain.

On the western side of the wash you will notice a fork in the double-track. Some Navajo ruins are located at the west fork. Take the south fork through some brush towards Kin Klizhin trail head. Sign the registry and complete a CCNHP trail pass and explore the Kin Klizhin ruins at your leisure. You are likely to have this site all to yourself (the last entry we saw in the registry was 10 days prior). You will likely be drawn to the spire of the tower kiva. Note the thickness of the masonry wall as it tapers towards the sky.

Don't ignore the plaza ruins to the east of the main site. Sand has filled the walls and plaza leaving only some exposed rubble in segments. Although not as abundant as I expected, there's still many fine examples of Chacoan black and white pottery sherds to be examined here. Gaze to the east and also to the west and spot remnants of the earthen dams built by the Chacoans.

The double-track continues west towards the Kin Bineola outlier ruins. About 2 miles east of Kin Klizhin we entered an area of sandy dunes - too much for my 2WD stock F-150 so we retrace our tracks back to Route 57.

Summary: Kin Klizhin was my second experience exploring a Chacoan outlier. HAZ hike descriptions now exist for 3 additional Chacoan outliers - Kin Bineola, Pueblo Pintado, and Kin Ya'a. Go experience one for yourself! Enjoy!

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2010-07-04 Randal_Schulhauser
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Kin Klizhin
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Chaco/Bisti Wilderness Experience 2011

    Chaco Culture National Historical Park Trails => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=12079
    Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=1962

    4 Days, 3 Nights - bliss!
    313 images later (178 on Rebel XT, 135 on 7D)

    Saturday June 18, 2011
    -on the road from Mike Mattes' Chandler residence @ 7am
    -Phoenix to Payson to Heber to Holbrook to Thoreau to Crown Point to Chaco via south entrance
    -somehow arrive at Gallo Campground first, get sites 48 and 49 in the "tents-only" alcove. Campground less than half full at 2:30pm on Saturday afternoon. Estimate about 80% full come the end of the day.
    -Trish (aka Trishness) and Tracy (aka Paintninaz) arrive and get site 40 since only 2 tents per site are allowed...
    -Larry the Lost (aka squatpuke) arrives with daughter Rebecca (aka ???)
    -time for our first trek, Chaco Canyon Overlook Trail that starts at the Gallo Campground entrance => http://www.explorenm.com/hikes/ChacoOverlook/
    -whip up BBQ chicken drumsticks with corn-on-the-cob and S'mores to feed the masses. Rebecca wins the best comment; "Hey Dad, this is way better than some granola bars for dinner".
    -Rob (aka PageRob) arrives at sundown
    -too many choice beers to be "slumming it" with a Caguama
    -Camp fire discussion eventually (inevitably?) gets around to "MAN CORN" => viewtopic.php?t=5356

    Sunday June 19, 2011
    -Chef Mike starts the day with our traditional Prickly Pear Vodka & Orange Juice before cooking the bacon and eggs over-easy.
    -7 HAZ'ers pile into Rob's Explorer and Mike's Jeep for backcountry ride to our first Chacoan Outlier, Kin Klizhin => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=15545
    -carry on through the backcountry to the "sand trap" area => http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=143366 that became a turnaround point for us last year.
    -"sand trap", "smand trap"! No problem for Mike's 4WD Jeep and Rob's 4WD Explorer as we push through to Lake Valley Chapter House and up NM371 to CR7297 (turn off near mile marker 70 on NM371) and the Bisti Wilderness trail head
    -I'm very surprised to see multiple vehicles at the TH. This is my 3rd trek into the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness and the first time I've ever seen another human!
    -equipped with some Bisti tips from Letty and Laurent Martres' handbook "Photographing the Southwest", we start to walk up the South Hunter Wash noting the barbed wire fence on the north side
    -when the barbed wire fence bends 90 degrees to the north, we angle ourselves in a northeast direction towards some fanciful coloured formations and into an area noted as "Stone Wings" on the Bisti Wilderness map
    -we eventually make our way into the North Hunter Wash before finding a promising looking canyon with some shady walls to sit and have a lunch snack
    -we continue our lasso loop back to the 90 degree bend in the barbed wire fence
    -noting the crew is looking a little "spent", the "Cracked Eggs" area recommended by Letty will have to wait for a future adventure
    -we head south along NM371 and the turnoff for Lake Valley Chapter House.
    -a couple of miles south lies the turnoff for Kin Bineola => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=15425
    -by far my favorite Chacoan Greathouse Ruin and Chacoan Outlier!
    -exploration of 3 southerly middens yields 6 inch pottery sherds and multiple handles
    -a green collared lizard amuses us as it tries to protect it's midden territory
    -after thorough exploration, on to Crown Point to pick up some ice and supplies
    -back in cell phone coverage, some "Happy Father's Day" texts trickle in
    -take advantage of the coverage to give my Dad a call
    -a little south and east of Crown Point lies Kin Ya'a => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=15536
    -this is a lesser appreciated outlier, but still worthy of exploration for it's ample middens and Chacoan roads
    -evening menu featuring BBQ steak, mushrooms, onions, sweet gherkin pickles, French bread, and our camp fire standby dessert, S'mores!
    -wind kicks up even more followed by a rain storm forcing us to retreat to our tents (or vehicles for some) to call it a night.

    Monday June 20, 2011
    -Chef Mike starts the day again with our traditional Prickly Pear Vodka & Orange Juice before cooking up his famous chocolate chip pancakes.
    -Trish and Tracy plan to trek the Penasco Blanco Trail to see the "Supernova" Pictograph => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=1672
    -for the remaining HAZ 5, our goal is the last remaining unexplored park trail, Pueblo Alto Loop => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=1284
    -through "the crack" and onto the mesa overlooks of Kin Kletso, Pueblo Bonito, and Chetro Ketl
    -next up is the Jackson Staircase and the Chacoan Road that heads toward Escavada Wash => http://www.nps.gov/chcu/historyculture/ ... -roads.htm
    -Pueblo Alto and New Alto ruins explored
    -back at the TH, the first Cag's are consumed (remember that taste is proportional to thirst and we were VERY thirsty)
    -mandatory exploration of "downtown Chaco"
    -Pueblo del Arroyo => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=1287
    -Pueblo Bonito => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=1281
    -Petroglyph Trail => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=1282
    -Chetro Ketl => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=1676
    -interesting reverse drive by Rob to collect Larry, Rebecca, and Mike at the Pueblo Bonito parking lot
    -back to the Gallo Campground for some R&R before tackling Wijiji Trail at sunset
    -explore the Gallo Campground vandalized petroglyph panels =>
    -evening Ranger Program with Park Rangers Joe Fleming and G.B. Cornicopia
    -the Gallo Campground is filled, but the Park Rangers indicate that they are not turning anybody away
    -I notice about 5 tents populating the area around the Campground Host Site
    -evening meal featuring Rob's burritos and appetizers by Trish and Tracy

    Tuesday June 21, 2011
    -Solstice Day in Chaco
    -Trish wakes me up ~4am (yikes!)
    -Waiting at the Gallo Campground Host Site for shuttle van pick-up 4:45am (yikes again!)
    -Arrive at Casa Rinconada about 5:15am => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=1668
    -We wait for the Laguna Pueblo tribe members to finish morning prayers at the Casa Rinconada before the masses are permitted to trek up to the site
    -I'm stunned by the "cluelessness" of many of the visitors as they feel compelled to walk in front of the solstice alignment window and interupt the image being photographed and videoed by others
    -I'll estimate the solstice observers to be about 3x the previous years' number
    -a little "glitch" waiting for the promised shuttles back to Gallo Campground
    -once back at the camp, Chef Mike has jumbo breakfast sausages and waffles ready for consumption
    -break camp, say our good-byes and we hit the road
    -side trip to El Morro => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=1295

    Photos to be posted when I get a chance...
    Kin Klizhin
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Hike #4 - Kin Klizhin Chaco Culture Outlier Ruin (1.49 miles, 1 hr 15min) - Navajo for "Black House", we bounce along the double-track skirting the south side of the Chaco mesas (see http://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/k ... etrail.htm and http://gamblershouse.wordpress.com/2009 ... n-klizhin/ ). This is another tower kiva ruins very similar to Kin Ya'a. We continue west in my truck and see a nearby ruin that seems to incorporate some more recent times construction. A Navajo corral perhaps? The landscape becomes a series of sand dunes about 3 miles west of Kin Klizhin. The road begins to look impassable, especially as we can see evidence of makeshift "come-alongs" used by previous stuck vehicles. We decide to turnaround since my F-150 is only 2WD without offroad extrawide tires...


    Those campfire discussions at Camp Chaco (see http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=142014 ) certainly took on a wide range of topics. Introduced to the existance of Paquime Sky Island site in Chihuahua Mexico and its similarities to Chaco smoker granaries => http://www.canyonsworldwide.com/chacoan ... y_row.html

    Heard some more Navajo folklore about Chaco during this year's trek => http://www.archaeology.org/0911/etc/insider.html
    and
    http://www.canyonsworldwide.com/chacocanyon/p25.htm

    Which then gets into Cowboy Wash CO discoveries =>
    http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/archaeology ... ywash.html
    and Polacca Wash AZ discoveries =>
    http://www.unl.edu/rhames/cannibal/cannibal.htm
    and Puerco River NM discoveries =>
    http://www.newnation.org/NCR/reference/NCR-Anasazi.html


    Maybe I should give "Man Corn" a read... :o
    Kin Klizhin
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Chaco Canyon and Bisti Wilderness Experience 2010


    4 months in the making
    4 days
    3 nights
    18 hiking trails
    30 Caguama Cerveza
    345 photos
    1135.2 miles
    Chaco Culture National Historical Park Gallo Campground as base camp
    Priceless!


    Having endured 4 months of "watchful waiting" (bad pun) with left eye surgery completed on 4/28 and right eye surgery completed on 5/19, I've had June 18th circled on the calendar since February. That was the date for medical clearance to get back into REAL HIKING again! For motivation I posted a 4 day weekend in Chaco Canyon incorporating the Summer Solstice plus a side trip into Bisti Wilderness on the HAZ Forum Board. There was plenty of interest, but few takers. Here's what they missed...



    Day 1 - Friday June 18th - Our planned 7am departure from Chez Schulhauser's in Ahwatukee went without a hitch as Mike Mattes and my Ford F-150 trundled along AZ87 towards Payson. A coffee and gas stop in Heber and we were soon headed towards Holbrook and the I-40.

    With the radio on seek to find some driving tunes; we had a wide selection of Country and Western, Country and Western, or Country and Western. We're introduced to "I'm Still a Guy" by Brad Paisley;

    "When you see a deer, you see Bambi
    And I see antlers on the wall...
    ...But I don't highlight my hair, I still have a pair
    Yeah honey, I'm still a guy
    Oh my eyebrows ain't plucked, there's a gun in my truck
    Oh thank God, I'm still a guy"

    Needless to say this became our theme song for CHACO EXPERIENCE 2010! We pulled into Gallup NM at 11:30am to grab a couple of lunch time subs and continued along the I-40 towards the Continental Divide. At Thoreau, we turn onto NM371 towards Crownpoint. Having made great time, we consult our Chaco Culture Outlier Map (see viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5111&p=55955#p56070 ) and notice Kin Ya'a marked just east of Crownpoint.

    Hike #1 - Kin Ya'a Chaco Culture Outlier Ruin (1.05 miles, 1 hr) - Navajo for "Tall House", we turn at the Ikard-Newson Propane site and pass through the south gate. There's a maze-like network of crisscrossing double-tracks heading to the east. As we crest the ridge we make out the distinctive spire of the 4-story kiva... (see http://www.100megspopup.com/photo4phood ... index.html ) We bounce along in my F-150 towards the site avoiding the intermittent "sand traps". It's before 2pm and we're at our first Chacoan Great House - great way to start the 4-day weekend!

    After having our fill of Kin Ya'a, we head back to NM371 north towards IR-9. I'm pleasantly surprised that IR-9 is paved as we travel 13.4 miles east looking for the abandoned trading post and derelict oil wells marking the intersection of NM57. NM57 is 19.3 miles of bone-rattling washboard that mostly parallels an ancient Chacoan Road towards the southern entry into Chaco Canyon near Fajada Butte. At the Visitor Center we have our first encounter with "Ranger Unhelpful" (aptly dubbed by PageRob). He doubts that there are any camp sites available in the Gallo Campground with this being the Summer Solstice with Zuni dancers and all, but wants to collect our $8 entry fee and $30 camp fees anyways. I pull out my annual NPS pass to get our $8 entry fee waived, but "Ranger Unhelpful" charges us anyways. He's a little annoyed when Mike points this out and I ask for a refund...

    As we slowly wind our way through Gallo Campground we get a little concerned as it begins to look like every camp site is occupied. Mike spots an open one, then another, and another. Of the 49 sites in Gallo, only 6 are open at about 3pm on a Friday afternoon. We settle on Site#28 and declare it "HAZ CAMP CHACO 2010". I'm able to text a message from this location to PageRob letting him know our camp site.

    Mike and I quickly assemble our tents, pop open an adult beverage and grab a seat in our camp chairs while waving to our new neighbours. We discuss a world of possibilities and decide that we'll BBQ dinner once the sun sets and try to get in a hike (or two) before then. Too bad we have such a tight schedule - NOT! (use your best Borat imitation here...).

    Hike #2 - Wijijii Chacoan Great House and Petroglyph Trail (4.45 miles, 2 hr 15 min) - From the western edge of Gallo Campgrounds you pick up the trail weaving towards Chaco Wash. You're walking on a non-descript flat service road towards the ruins. Nothing of note until you arrive at the site. Barriers and the ever present "Keep Out" signs keep you away from close examination of the great house ruin. A father and son pass us heading back from the petroglyph trail. We enquire about the glyphs and they indicate that they didn't see any. Mike and I head that way and start examining what look like prospective panels. Again barriers and the ever present "Keep Out" signs keep you a "head scratching" distance away from anything of interest. Mike walks by the entire site not spotting any hint of rock art. My new found sight begins to discern some pictographs and then some glyphs. The changing light begins to amplify multiple examples of rock art.

    Back at CAMP CHACO I whip up the evening grub - BBQ buffalo burgers, corn-on-the-cob, sweet gherkins, and some choice English beers. With a crackling campfire providing background "music" and stars beginning to appear in the evening sky, plus some good "eats", good beer, good company - what's not to like?

    Hike #3 - Gallo to Visitor Center Stroll (3.49 miles, 2 hrs 15min) - Having received multiple tips that an Evening Ranger Lecture would be held back at the Visitor Center Observatory and in need of an after dinner "leg stretcher", Mike and I head down the road to join the rest of the campers...

    Day 1 total mileage = 8.99 miles



    Day 2 - Saturday June 19th - Gallo Campgrounds is buzzing with pre-dawn activity rushing off to catch the Zuni Solstice Dancers. I'm confused; summer solstice is on Monday 21st. Oh well, don't let facts get in the way of a good show... Mike is on breakfast duty grilling sausages and eggs with our traditional morning "eye-opener" - prickly pear vodka and orange juice. We soon pack the F-150 with some hiking supplies for our trek to Bisti and a couple of outliers. Our stop at the Ranger Station is a complete 180 from our Friday experience. Rangers are tripping over each other trying to help us. One heads off to the office to make copies of a new, updated map of the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness while another talks about his plan to visit the same wilderness on Sunday. Yet another Ranger joins the conversation and answers my questions about the "lost" Fajada Butte Sun Dagger http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jon ... agger.html and why it remains off limits. We'll dub these the "3 Most-Helpful Rangers"...

    Hike #4 - Kin Klizhin Chaco Culture Outlier Ruin (1.49 miles, 1 hr 15min) - Navajo for "Black House", we bounce along the double-track skirting the south side of the Chaco mesas (see http://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/k ... etrail.htm and http://gamblershouse.wordpress.com/2009 ... n-klizhin/ ). This is another tower kiva ruins very similar to Kin Ya'a. We continue west in my truck and see a nearby ruin that seems to incorporate some more recent times construction. A Navajo corral perhaps? The landscape becomes a series of sand dunes about 3 miles west of Kin Klizhin. The road begins to look impassable, especially as we can see evidence of makeshift "come-alongs" used by previous stuck vehicles. We decide to turnaround since my F-150 is only 2WD without offroad extrawide tires. Head south on NM57 to IR9 only to see a tragic rollover with EMS personnel scrambling to do what they can. NM371 takes us north towards Lake Valley Chapter House where we exit onto CR7059...

    Hike #5 - Kin Bineola Chaco Culture Outlier Ruin (1.35 miles, 1 hr 30min) - Navajo for "Whirlwind House", only one word to say => WOW! This was the high-light of the trip... See http://www.100megspopup.com/photo4phood ... index.html and http://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/u ... 202005.pdf

    Hike #6 - Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness (5.83 miles, 3 hr 15min) - Navajo for "Cranes" in reference to the petroglyphs containing these bird images. See http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/wilderness/bisti.html
    We access the wilderness from the CR7500 trail head. The colours are reminiscent of Coal Mine Canyon or the Black Forest in PEFO, the mushroom rocks are reminiscent of the Paria, but the petrified wood was totally unexpected. The trek was hot, sweaty, and dusty, but the Caguama (http://www.caguamabeer.com/ ) filling the cooler took care of that!

    Hike #7 - Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness (0.32 miles, 30min) - Access from the west off NM371. See http://www.takemytrip.com/064corners/06_09a.htm

    With my gas gauge now indicating half a tank and not having passed a gas station all day, we decide that continuing 40 miles north to Farmington was our safest bet.

    Hike #8 - Angel Peak Wilderness (0.28 miles, 20min) - Off NM550 about 15 miles south of Bloomfield on CR7175. See http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recrea ... _Peak.html

    Back at CAMP CHACO waiting for PageRob to arrive, we meet some of our new camp neighbours. Rob arrives in the waning light. It's now time for BBQ New York Strips, corn-on-the-cob, sweet gherkins, and some choice English beers (or Caguama if you're slumming it). PageRob adds to choice beers with selections from Oak Creek and Grand Canyon Breweries. From our camp chairs we have a stellar light show. We pick out all the constellations we know and conclude that Orion's Belt must be below the horizon. After midnight, the moon sets below the horizon allowing the Milky Way to be exposed. With my new found sight, I've never seen anything like it...

    Day 2 total mileage = 9.27 miles



    Day 3 - Sunday June 20th - Once again Gallo Campgrounds is buzzing with pre-dawn activity, this time not to catch the Zuni Solstice Dancers (they packed up and left on Saturday), but to catch the sunrise Solstice light captured by the 7th niche in Casa Rinconada (see http://www.exploratorium.edu/chaco/HTML/rinconada.html ). We're up before 5am and decide the morning light at Pueblo Bonito will have our attention on this day...

    Hike #9 - Pueblo Bonito (1.73 miles, 1 hr 15 min) - What can you say, the Chaco Grand House of Grand Houses all to ourselves. See http://www.dennisrhollowayarchitect.com ... onito.html

    Rob and I are back at CAMP CHACO where Mike has prepared his specialty for breakfast - chocolate chip pancakes, grilled ham, and our traditional eye-opener - prickly pear vodka and orange juice...

    Hike #10 - South Mesa Loop (5.60 miles, 3 hr 30 min) - From the Casa Rinconada trail head, we climb up South Mesa making a clockwise loop towards Tsin Kletzin (Navajo for "Charcoal Place"). See http://4cornershikesnavajo.blogspot.com ... anyon.html The trail has a "feel" to it like Grand Gulch/Cedar Mesa. At the Great House we have commanding 360 degree views. Our cell phones work and with it being Father's Day, make the call home to Dad. We make a side trek to view Weritos Rincon, remnants of a Chacoan dam...

    We're back at the Casa Rinconada trail head at noon. A refreshing blast from the F-150's A/C and a minor debate about afternoon plans. Pueblo Alto Loop was on the list, but our stomachs are talking to us and there's Buffalo Burgers in the ice chest back at CAMP CHACO. Back at camp we BBQ those burgers and drain a couple of turtles (aka Caguamas).

    Hike #11 - Pueblo Pintado Chaco Culture Outlier Ruin (1 mile, 1 hr 30 min) - A squalid and depressing Chapter House (quite the contrast from Lake Valley and others) with an interesting Great House Ruin. To me the high light is midden after midden containing multiple examples of large pottery sherds, Rob seemed to win his argument with the turtle (or was one of the Buffalo Burgers slightly sushi style?) and was able to give us a lesson in Chacoan pottery styles.

    We have plenty of daylight remaining when we return to CAMP CHACO. The winds are a little too much as well, so we grab our camp chairs and set up in the wind shadow and shade near the Gallo Alcove Ruins http://4cornershikesnavajo.blogspot.com ... ve%20Ruins

    As the sun sets, the winds die and with dual pyros Mike and Rob getting the camp fire going, I prepare some steak fajitas with corn-on-the-cob. Rob whips up an appetizer bowl of chilli and fritos. Plenty of unique beers to share. Life is good...

    Day 3 total mileage = 8.33 miles



    Day 4 - Monday June 21st - Once again Gallo Campgrounds is buzzing with pre-dawn activity and we're on the road about 10th in line waiting for the park gate to open at 5:30am sharp. Like a giant train, a procession of vehicles wind their way to the Casa Rinconada trail head to catch the sunrise Solstice light captured by the 7th niche.

    Hike #12 - Casa Rinconada (0.5 miles, 1 hr) - It's a New Age event at the giant kiva waiting for the sunrise. http://www.exploratorium.edu/media/inde ... m=00000622
    Certainly an "interesting" cross-section of life standing along the edges of the giant kiva waiting for sun to rise. Striking up some conversations I find out that just about everyone is a teacher or archeologist. There's even a large group of teachers that arrived in a "Follow The Sun" Tour Bus. Seems they are all part of an NSF funded "teacher enrichment" program headed by some archeologists. Talk to some of teachers in this program and their plans to interweave some Chaco Canyon elements into their high school programs. The Head Ranger from Chaco (neglected to write his name down, but he's been there for many years) gives a lecture to the crowd about the alignment. He certainly creates an element of doubt in the crowd when he mentions that although the niches are restored in their original positions, the light entrance window is pure speculation as it is 100% reconstruction from the 1920's (and nobody had the original architectural drawings!). Much to our relief we aren't sucked into any New Age Vortex and we are able to make our way back to the trail head and climb into the F-150 back to CAMP CHACO.

    Mike looks after breakfast - oatmeal with maple syrup, home made muffins, grilled ham, and our ritual eye-opener. We break camp packing up our gear into our respective vehicles - today is getaway day. Over to the visitor center and book store for another encounter with Ranger Unhelpful. Seems that all 3 of us settle on the same book; "The Architecture of Chaco Canyon" by Stephen H. Lekson. We decide on a Tourist Speed Loop of Chaco Canyon so Rob can get some "Cag Shots".

    Hike #13 - Una Vida (0.25 miles, 10 min)

    Hike #14 - Hungo Pavi (0.25 miles, 10 min)

    Hike #15 - Chetro Ketl (0.10 miles, 5 min)

    Hike #16 - Pueblo Bonito (0.10 miles, 5 min)

    Hike #17 - Kin Kletso (0.10 miles, 5 min)

    Hike #18 - Pueblo del Arroyo (0.10 miles, 5 min)

    We wave good bye to Rob as Mike and I head towards the South Road and NM57 towards Phoenix. I've got a 6am flight to catch on Tuesday to MSP... :wrt:

    Day 4 total mileage = 1.40 miles



    Four Day Total Mileage = 27.99 miles

    Permit $$
    NPS

    Chaco Canyon HP National Park
    $8 per vehicle good for 7 days Entrance Fee


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    Directions to the Trail: From Visitor Center at Chaco Culture National Historic Park;
    1.Head south and west on Route 57. At about mile 3, Route 57 will bend sharply to the south. Continue west on the unnamed double-track another 9 miles to Kin Klizhin.
    2.Near mile 12, the double-track will enter Kin Klizhin Wash. As you rise out of the wash, take the south fork in the double-track towards Kin Klizhin ruins. There are some Navajo ruins near this intersection.
    page created by Randal_Schulhauser on Jul 04 2010 1:30 am
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