In the footsteps of the Anastazi / Anasazi

                 "scenes from the Rio Cuervo in New Mexico"


I am convinced that its all here!. Two pond is frozen with over 12 inches of thick ice.

We seem to discover more buildings at every turn. What began as a vacant desolate empty area now has over 20 ruins. They seem to be of every variety. From Anasazi pueblo and cliff dwellings to the most primitive cave dwellings. Below is the original mesa camp building that stands just a mile from the 1940 ranch house in the shadow of Prieta. On this cold day Mike and Greg take a place in front for scale.

We have now discovered many logs, tree trunks and other petrified Objects not only in the soil but protruding from the cliffs above. This is one that Greg spotted.

We have now found at least 3 complete village sites just south of the big water fall. The first is just below split mesa and you can see pottery at every glance. Most of it is black and white with angular designs. A lot of it is the utility pottery that is of the rope style. Bands of clay that create a corrugated pattern. There is so much that we no longer pick up the pieces under two inches.

I have had a plan ever since finding the large mortar. I wanted a club. I know they are out there as a friend had found one. I had now masked my looking to the shape of that object. It was not easy as I was use to looking for the circular shape of the ammonites and the concave of the mortar. And it worked. This day I found a great specimen of the ancient club. Take a look.

I want to share with you the special feeling and regard that comes from time to time in the presence of these ancient ones. On this snowy cold January day Greg and I had split up. He was intent on climbing a mesa in the dangerous icy cliffs. I not having that sureness of footing decide to go into a canyon about two miles north where on a previous day we had seen a large map petroglyph. After about an hour of separation Greg fired a shot to determine my position. I returned the fire and determined that he was a couple of miles south of my position. I had some distance yet to go and the sky was clouding up and the sun was shutting down. I reached the base of the volcanic canyon and there about 40 feet up in the giant 5 and 10 foot boulders was the map rock. I climbed to it and rested in face of it. It seemed to stretch about 10 feet from left to right and 6 feet high. I look and looked at the drawings. I tried to imagine the artist and his intent. I thought that the large circles on the left could be a great water fall which I could just a 100 yards up the canyon. I did not understand why the artist had a second series of circles to the right and above. This set of circles would depict a second water source between the water fall and my position. I decided to chance the setting sun and climb above the rock into the great wall of lava rocks above. I climbed up and to the left. It was slippery and getting dark I knew that I should be heading back to Greg and the car. If it started snowing we may not be able to drive out of the meadow we had parked in. I was drawn to go higher and more to the left. Just above me about 10 feet was a much larger than normal black lava rock. This rock was so large and flat it made a ledge that you could climb around and up on. As I pulled myself over the lip of this rock I could see that the center was hollowed out and became a very large water hole. Indeed it was full of water. It was in a position that most of the game in the area could not easily get to it. It was being used mostly by the birds. I do not know for sure but I believe that this was the second circle. Someone from another time had guided me to it. I would not forget it. When I returned to the car Greg ask if I had found anything. I simply replied "Its all here".

On the next Sunday with Mike on camera and Greg driving we started on in the cold early morning. As we drove through the snow drifts and hidden bumps covered by 12 inches of snow hard packed we began to notice that the driving was some what dangerous. For the first time we had talk in the car of "What If!". To our delight there were about 40 prong horned Antelope crossing the road in front of us.

Our destination was a known wash that we had never visited. We knew there was a road to it and had located it. The problem was that there were drifts up to 24 inches in places. Then it happened. Its called "high center". The frame of the car was up on the ice packed road holding the center of the car in the air with the tire spinning in the snow. This was to be the end of the road. Mike had stated at the beginning of the trip that we should bring a long handled shovel. He was right and we did not bring it. After a two hour assault on the undercarriage of the vehicle we were ready to pull it out of the predicament. Didn't work! I tell you we were like NASA in the old days. Very little conversation, each of us attacking a different part of the problem. Greg pulling snow from the real differential, Mike determined to get the center of the vehicle and frame clear and I finding wood to put under the tires. All of us at one point laying in the mud and snow discussing the difficulty of each task. Finally we all converged on the rear of the vehicle and dug it free. Mike and I would lift on the front bumper and push back as Greg would try to steer the car free of the ice and off of the road. It worked, the vehicle lunged in reverse and Greg started a mad frantic attempt to keep the vehicle moving and attempt to get it out of the snow on the road up on the mesa that had less snow drifts. After what seemed to be eternity he managed to have the Vehicle slip and slide its way a high speed over the ridge of the road and to rest. This place is now noted on our maps as the "end of the road".

We packed into this new area and Mike spotted a Blind. This one was more primitive than the others we had found. Greg was able to find some worked stones around the area and some large pieces of pottery.

Climbing was good and we found lots to rediscover.

By this time the sun had melted the snow and a layer of mud like concrete packed us down at every step. The drive out was the worse we had every experience and not for the faint of heart. This new are was great for hunting but I can not imagine them living in this area. It just could be the wettest spot in the desert. If we are to continue these ventures survival now lurks as a real area of concern.

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copyright 2000/2001 Chuck Dawson Corrales NM

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