10-07 This years trip to the top of prieta. Just two weeks after James and I had spent a chilly night on the ranch near two pond we found ourselves longing for the top of mesa prieta. I had been looking for the ancient anazasi village on the top for over 10 years. I have been scouting the top via google earth and found what I believed to be the elusive village or at least the ruins of the buildings. Google earth blow up
Because of the bad road to the top we have had only four or five trip up it. Many were scary to say the least. The roads are so bad because they have not been graded in the last two years any trip is a causality waiting to happen. The new gorge and a couple of more not block completely any two way trip. By than I mean that the way you go in to any point is the same way you must leave. Think about it! If you drive over a bad spot you do not get the option of finding another way back. You must come back over the bad spot. If it rains you now run the risk of not being able to leave at all. Not until it dries out anyway. I just got my new H-2 and James go a new H-3. The H-3 being the most narrow of the two got the nod for our next trip to the top. The question was whether James should drive the road. We began the journey with the new H-3, Tom the official photographer, myself and James at the wheel. It was dry with no humidity but the roads were bad. The ever present burros seem to mark the way to the mesa in the background.
on the way back the heard would grow to 27 watching us depart. Tom got a great shot of the pass (V) where the road breaks through the top of the mesa.
The little tan line at the top is the road.
The road is tough and narrow at spots. The incline is so great there are very few spots to actually stop and take a picture. No place to turn around until you hit the gate about one third to the top.
You can only imagine this road when it is wet or frozen.
At the gate it is time to rest and take in the expansive views.
Some of the many petroglyphs you can see from the road hold special meanings. I think this one means "rocky road ahead"!
Others are clearly art but the meanings have been lost.
After James fighting the road for another third way up there is a meadow. This is where you can take in the view of Mesa Camp down below and your chance to turn back.
Now it more rough road. I had been telling James that the road we had traversed was not the bad spots. Now we would enter the last third and the bad spot. Some are so narrow as to give you the feeling the tires near the edge will plunge the car 500 feet or more below. Some of these twist and turns are complete "U" turns with a void on one side and a shear wall on the other.
From one point you can see the Jemez areas and the white mesa that was painted red for the movie mars.
Here James takes a rest after mastering what he thought was the worst of it.
actually the last climb to the top is the worst. James went up to check out what gear to use when topping over the peak.
After traveling north then east to the edge of the mesa we were able to locate the building. To our disappointment it was not an anazasi ruin but a long abandoned structure maybe a 100 years old. There was a round up pen. Some of the kiva's were bigger than any tree I have ever seen on top or below. I can not imagine these beams being hauled in and up to the top for this building. I have seen many indications of large trees in the past in the area.
Many time the old generation cowboys would build on or near the Anasazi buildings. We began a scout of the area to find the missing village. Looking over the edge we could see two elk running across the meadow below. You have to look very close.
Ask a question and get your picture taken. You can see the meadow below that the elk were in.
Tom is taking a look at the large water shed that made this area so appealing to anyone who inhabited it.
As we follow the drain up to the building a hawk comes out of the gorge.
We traveled to the south tank and saw a heard of elk scurry over the side of the mesa at our arrival. As the sun begins to fall one must realize that it gets dark faster as the mesa blocks the sun. So its time for the trip down. I did not mention that the trip down takes a lot less time but is just as if not more dangerous. Without finding the village the search will continue and there will be other trips to the top as a result.
THE NEXT REAL EXPLORATION WAS THE SOUTH OLD ROAD AT THE TIP 12-12-10
a petroglyph at the top of the peak
james at the top of the peek
the rio perqco west Felippe east and the sandias
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copyright 1995-2007 Chuck Dawson Corrales NM
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