Big Red, Edie, and I have a serious relationship with the southwest and in particular with it’s high desert. Our big adventures usually begin in Albuquerque, 843 miles from our front door. Red handily covers the distance in twelve hours. From there we travel the four corners area.
We love the people and their land which is steeped in much pre-history. When travelling in this area, I spend most of my time seeking out landscape opportunities. Indian ruins rank high on my list. I like hiking in these areas and thinking about the people that were here before me. Many of those that inhabit these areas today are indigenous and their ancestors are the people who built these ancient dwellings.
At Canyon de Chelly National Monument, prehistoric evidence of these peoples is revealed through the unique architecture of their dwellings. Perched high on desert varnish stained cliff walls are the remnants of their homes. The arid climate has been kind to these structures and many survive in a condition not unlike when they were first constructed. The ladders and perhaps crude ropes they used to access these places have been gone for almost 1,000 years. The toe and hand holds carved into the sandstone faces are all that remain to indicate partial means of gaining entrance to these remote dwellings.
Take in “White House” noting the petroglyphs carved into the desert varnished canyon walls below the ruin. Listen for the excited sounds of children’s voices playing as others work to prepare the evening meal. The lonely sound of a prehistoric wooden flute climbs the canyon walls, pervading the air with it’s soft and beckoning notes. Smoke rises from the fire pit. The late afternoon sun dives for the horizon as darkness advances against it’s yellow and weakening rays. A coyote howls faintly in the distance as the edge of a full moon appears on the eastern horizon. Twilight is upon the family now as the day has ended for the inhabitants of White House.