A thousand years ago as grand cathedrals were being erected throughout Europe, a sophisticated civilization thrived in the American Desert Southwest. The ruins left behind by this magnificent culture have inspired awe, wonder and controversy for generations.
For over three hundred years the Ancient Ones, as they are called by their modern day descendants, the Hopi, constructed elaborate stone villages, temples and kivas (underground ceremonial chambers) that aligned to the Sun, Moon and Stars. Impressive engineers, they also built an extensive network of purposefully aligned roads and incorporated advanced concepts of sacred geometry into the design of their structures.
And then, as mysteriously as they arrived, the Ancient Ones abandoned Chaco Canyon and disappeared into the mists of time.
The Wisdom of Stones and Stars Tour will explore the many facets of the mystery of Chaco Canyon:
Pueblo Bonito: The crown jewel of Chaco Canyon. Once four stories tall, with almost 800 rooms, 32 kivas (below ground ceremonial chambers) and 4 great kivas, it was one of the largest ancestral sites in the Southwest. What is the significance of the placement, arrangement and design of Pueblo Bonito? What is the significance of the T shaped doors? Why, when viewed from above is the complex D shaped like the curve of an archers bow? What is the significance of the " Turquoise Room?"
Petroglyphs: Walk the foot paths of the Ancients to view rock carvings (petroglyphs) carved in stone. What stories do the symbols tell us? What clues have been left behind to help us determine who these people were and where they came from? What meaning does the most iconic petroglyph, the spiral, hold? What do the symbols tell us about the relationship between Chaco Canyon and other sacred sites in the world? Explore the meaning behind the multitude of symbols for clan affiliations, migrations, supernatural beings and celestial phenomenon.
The Pueblo Alto Trail: Traverse a passageway to the mesa top and step back in time. Here, we will walk in the footsteps of the Ancients and explore the remains of the Great Chaco Road, The Jackson Staircase and the remnants of Pueblo Alto. In addition, the mesa top provides excellent views of Pueblo Bonito below and the ruins of Chetro Ketl. Enjoy expanded views in all directions and a superior view of Chaco Canyon below.
The Super Nova Pictograph: Hike to the site where the Super Nova of 1054 CE is recorded. This cosmic explosion resulted in what today is known as the Crab Nebula located in the constellation Taurus. The Super Nova was visible in broad daylight for 23 days and by night for 653 days. The explosion was also recorded by Chinese and Japanese astrologers. The pictograph, painted on a horizontal slab six meters above ground has been very well protected from the elements. It is composed of a crescent moon, a star shape and a life size outline of a handprint. In addition, there is a faint symbol that resembles what some believe is the passage of Haley's Comet circa 1066 CE. We then continue beyond the pictograph and hike to the mesa top where we will explore the ruins of Penasco Blanco.
Archeoastronomy: We will explore the significance of the Sun Dagger of Fajada Butte, massive stone slabs with spiral petroglyphs used by the Ancients to calculate the Solstice and Equinoxes, and explore the other markers that exist within the temples of the canyon to observe the cycles of the Sun and moon.
The Wisdom of Stones and Stars Tour is a two-day exploration of Chaco Canyon that requires a moderate level of fitness due to the nature of the terrain and climate. Because of this, I do not recommend this tour for children under the age of 13 and for those with any physical limitations that would prohibit them from prolonged exposure to heat, direct Sun and extended hiking through rocky terrain.
Participants are required to provide their own transportation to and through the park. As your guide, I will facilitate the tour as a " step -on guide" and travel with you in a lead vehicle to each destination.
CAMPING/LODGING: Camping is available at the Gallo Campground within the boundaries of the park. There are well maintained flush bathrooms and potable water available but no RV/electrical hookups. Both tent camping and RV camping are available. Reservations can be made through www.recreation.gov Additional lodging is available in the towns of Farmington and Bloomfield approximately 65 miles north east of the park. Please note that the last 13 miles of road approaching the canyon are unpaved and can be very rough and rutted during inclement weather. This creates increased drive time between the park and Farmington/Bloomfield. For this reason, I strongly recommend camping in the park for the duration of your tour.
There is no groceries/food available in the park.
Tours are scheduled throughout May-October. Please watch this site for further details on tour dates, pricing and pertinent information.
Private group tours are available by special arrangement and pricing with a minimum of 8 participants and a maximum of 12. Please contact Alex for additional information.