Monday, February 14, 2011


When I read "OFF THE BEATEN TRACK 1 and  2 (Jan 22 ans 23) by Deseree, I remembered that I have always had a thing for ruins.  (And by the way if you want a fantastic virtual tour of everything beautiful and wonderful in South Africa then visit her site

From my 5th grade year on my parents (with me in tow) would make a trip from California to Missouri (to visit family) every August. On the way we would always pass a road to ancient Indian cliff dwellings. Every year I would beg my father to stop and look at the ruins. At that time people could actually enter the ruins. He would always say NO to ALL nonessential stops.

Kinda looks like us, but Mom was definitely NOT smiling!

You see, my father looked upon this trip as a personal challenge.  Each year he tried to get there in less time (usually driving straight though).  That meant getting up at an awful hour so we could get through the worst part of the desert at night.  He also did not believe in speeding (it was against the law and he is a rule follower as well as a rule maker).  So he made the rule...We will only stop to get gas!  And while we are getting gas everyone  WILL eat and use the restroom.

Unfortunately I was like a little kitten (...garbage in...garbage out).  If I ate or drank anything I would have to go in the near future.  Only by the time the near future got there we were miles beyond the gas station!

Years later, when I was relocating myself and my children to from Ca. to Mo. I was determined to stop and finally get to see those ruins.  I turned onto the road.  Drove for about 20 miles and came to a large chain link fence WITH AN EVEN LARGER LOCK.  Boy was I mad at my dad.  A tremendous opportunity lost forever.  So you can see the magnitude of my loss I looked the place up on the internet.
“The Anasazi (Hisatsinom) were likely the descendants of an Archaic Desert culture in the southwest from 6,000 B.C.E. known as the Basketmaker I culture, or from the Mogollon. They first appeared in the Four Corners region (the intersection of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado) around the time of the historic Christ. The ruins of the Anasazi (Hisatsinom) culture are the best-preserved ruins in North America. The word "Anasazi" is a later Navajo word which means "ancient people who are not us" or "ancient enemies." The Hopi consider themselves to be descendants of the Anasazi (Hisatsinom), and prefer that their ancestors be called the Hisatsinom, which means "people of long ago." The Anasazi (Hisatsinom) did not build cliff dwellings for the first 1,000 years of their history, but rather lived in open communities or in caves. They lived near fields where they grew corn, squash, and beans. They also gathered nuts and other wild foods and hunted game. Given the very open nature of their lifestyle, archaeologists argue that the Anasazi (Hisatsinom) had few enemies in their early history.”

“Mesa Verde contains some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the southwest. This is Cliff Palace, which is the largest cliff dwelling in North America. It has 217 rooms and twenty-three kivas, and probably had a population of 200-250 people. The kivas here were sunk into the ground, and one entered them by climbing down a ladder.”
 “Other large dwellings include Spruce Tree House which has 144 rooms and eight kivas. There are over 600 cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde and, although there are other large villages such as this in Mesa Verde, 75 percent contain only one to five rooms. Balcony House is another famous dwelling in Mesa Verde, and is located high on the cliffs 600 feet above the canyon floor. Through tree-ring dating, its first timbers have been dated to 1190 C.E., and its latest timbers to 1290. The Anasazi (Hisatsinom) abandoned most cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde around 1270 C.E., and Balcony House was among the last places to be abandoned. “
All of the above came from the website (I certainly didn’t get to take these lovely pictures myself. THANKS DAD!)
kt 2/02/2011


  1. Wow - what an interesting culture.
    We lived near many indian areas in Indiana. My brother had a collection of arrow heads that took up more room than his clothes! I knew that my grand father was Cherokee so I just took it for granted that this was part of my indian background. (It wasn't because my relatives came from the VA/KY area and not northern Indiana - kind of burst my bubble when I found out!)

  2. That's some information...I like to visit historic sites as well...

  3. How interesting!! Very neat culture!

    Don't feel left out! I had to miss a lot of neat things on roadtrips too! (Mom has a no stopping rule!)

  4. I definitely won't rub further salt into those wounds by suggesting you really did miss out on viewing something truly incredible :( What a pity this area is cordoned off to passing tourists, but I suppose that, unless it's officially on the map and drawing 1,000s of visitors annually, they feel it's too costly to maintain full-time security & staff etc.

    It has been fascinating reading this information, Karen and I would love to think you will still manage to see it in person sometime! Put it on your wish list and send the link to this blog entry to the powers that be! Who knows, maybe they'll give you VIP treatment :)

    BTW thanks so very much for the shout out re my blog! I'm overwhelmed and feel very honoured!