I had read that the cliff dwellings of the Anastazi were summer or winter Dwellings. The main dwellings we found were on the south facing side of the canyon walls. I stood for the longest time thinking this must be the winter dwelling for the sun spends along time on this canyon face. It was about 105 degrees and the other canyons across the Cuevro were at lest a mile or more away. I noticed what looked like a scoop piercing out of the canyon wall across from us. We climbed down the canyon wall in the 100 plus degree heat and started our first trek across the Cuervo. Through the desert for about a half mile and then up the gorge to a dry creek bed that would lead to our first encounter with wild burros. About a dozen were grazing in the cholla field.
As we walked across the Cuervo and through the cholla field the Scoop Took on a whole new possibility. There was a lot of vegetation around The bottom of the carve out which indicated lots of water. Could it be A water fall here in the middle of the desert? This fall was the bottom of several falls on the side of the mesa wall about two thousand feet higher. The water winds its way down the side of the mesa causing heavy pinion and pine growth in the volcanic rocks covering the mesa side. From the top you could see a pond was at the bottom with the run off creating a stream that ran out into the deep gorge they call the Cuervo. If it were running at this time the vale would extend far out creating a curtain that would cover what we found. The water had carved out layer after layer of dirt then rock then ancient ocean bottom that would expose our first ammonites that date back over 65,000,000 years. Not only had we discovered waterfalls in the desert, but strange shaped rocks that once swam in an ancient ocean that we were standing on.
Without this curtain of water the secret place was exposed. The remains of two buildings hidden under a vale of water where believe it or not a fire would be.
There were once two buildings hidden behind the water fall. One was round the other rectangular. *My speculation is that the rectangular building had a fire pit for ceremony and ritual. The round building was probably the spiritual leaders special lodge. You know a place to keep all the secret stuff. It just as easily have been a sauna with fire wood kept in the other lodge. There is a layer of ash at the bottom of the sweat lodge. I dug about a foot down and found at least eight inches of ash. What a magnificent site it must have been standing on the hidden ledge with a full vale of water falling into a 50 foot pond below with the miles of canyon in your view.
Here again a man (Greg Linde) stands in this special place. Unlike the other ruins that had lead us here the interior walls did not appear to have been adobe plastered. So home we went again, with memories of a people that we were just beginning to know a little about. Greg had found the strange rock curled and grooved we would only latter find out was an ammonite. We had no idea of the wonders that would lay ahead in our year at the Cuervo.
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