From Mesa Verde we continued east to Durango, CO for the night. Next morning, we needed to take the truck and find someone who could rotate all five wheels. This was completed by noon. We then headed to Aztec, New Mexico for our next stop on our list of places to visit.
We stopped at the Aztec Ruins National Monument. Actually, the Aztecs never lived here, this settlement was built by the ancestors of the Native American people who are still living in the southwest today. This site was given its name by the Spanish who traveling north from Mexico commonly used the term “Aztec” when naming many of the ancient sites they encountered.
At this location there was a “Pithouse” which had been restored and is being used by the local Native population to this day for their celebrations and ceremonies. The rest of the site is still as it was when it was discovered.
There were many tribes that lived in and around this area: Zuni, Acoma, Zia, Hopi, Tewa, Ute and Navajo.
We left here late in the afternoon and continued south to Chaco Canyon National Historic Park.
Once you leave HWY550 at Nageezi and continue Chaco it is a dirt road until you are in the park which is again paved. We camped at the campsite within the park for a couple of nights to try and see as much of Historic Park as possible. Once we had setup camp and had some dinner we took a walk along the edge of the campground where we found petroglyphs and some ruins.
Next morning, we first visited the Visitor Information Center then proceeded to visit as many of the sites within this canyon as possible. There were many more ruins and petroglyphs to be seen.
From here we went back to the campground for the night, next morning, after breakfast we packed up and headed over to Pueblo Bonito. This is the largest set of ruins and the centre piece of the Chaco civilization.
From here we went to Kin Kletso.
From Kin Kletso there is a trail which takes you to the top of the Canyon on the north side and continues along where you can look down on some of the ruins.
The trail is a bit of a climb up a narrow crevasse to the top.
But the views are worth the effort.
Whilst above the canyon we visited Pueblo Alto, this would be our final place in the canyon we would visit.
We left here late in the afternoon hand headed to Gallup for the night where we had dinner at a BBQ and Smokehouse.
Next: Moab – Arches NP