It was October 29, 2000 that I first ventured into the mouth of Collier Canyon. At that time we discovered the government style tables, beds and other furniture. This equipment that has been neatly disassembled an stacked into an water fall overhang that may have supported a cliff dwelling.
It was clear that the Cynthia Irwin Williams Archaeological expeditions of 1961,2,3 and 1964 had anticipated returning and never did. The surprise was that someone who I assume was a party to the three month yearly explorations had returned. Someone with the initials J.H.R. had come back to the location. They had dug a small circular pit about five feet across and one foot deep and then tee peed some lumber to make a roof. They then hand plastered a beehive type sweat hole or hogan to sleep in. They had a fire pit of volcanic rocks to the north of the sweat hole. An old military type bed was probably used during the summer evenings.
How do I know that JR was there in 86? Because he left a note. It was carved on a board over the door way. This person had a flare for art and time on their hands. They added a feather to the information. Whether this was because they were native American or just affected by the rush of feelings one gets when they spend time in this primitive spot that has been chosen for over 10,000 years by humans for it's magic and life giving surroundings. Or maybe just as a tribute to their tribe of one.
Irwin-Williams has in her notes of these expeditions that she found remnants of early human occupation in each of these canyon heads. The ready availability of water, game and vegetation was the reasons for early occupants (12k yrs). Later she notes cliff dwellings are built in the overhang of some of these canyons. I have found two standing and many ruins. This was about 800 yrs ago. The evolution between living in the dunes at the top of the canyon head and defensively in cliff dwellings over 9k yrs has resulted in the many pit homes and archaic Anasazi building found all around this area. Some of the building are crude to say the least like this one that is not much more than a hunting blind or another one person tribe 5,000 yrs ago.
Today on our return seven and a half years later I told James what to expect. At about noon we had made it to the head of the canyon and there it was.
A little worse for wear but in tact. I hope that somehow JR is out there and will contact me and fill in the many missing pieces of this puzzle. How long did JR stay. Is JR's bones in the arroyo below? Was this a walk a bout? I can tell you from the fire pit no one has come back except us. The canyon pond had been full of water seven and a half years ago. Now it was a gaping hole. The change we can garrantee is the weather.
YOU MUST PUT FORM SUB: IN THE SUBJECT LINE
copyright 1995-2008 Chuck Dawson Corrales NM
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