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...