On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Good Morning All,
This weekday feature is for Balloon Juicers who are on the road, travelling, etc. and wish to share notes, links, pictures, stories, etc. from their escapades. As the US mainland begins the end of the Earth day as we measure it, many of us rise to read about our friends and their transient locales.
So, please, speak up and share some of your adventures, observations, and sights as you explore, no matter where you are. By concentrating travel updates here, it’s easier for all to keep up-to-date on the adventures of our fellow Commentariat. And it makes finding some travel tips or ideas from 6 months ago so much easier to find…
Have at ’em, and have a safe day of travels!
Should you have any pictures (tasteful, relevant, etc….) you can email them to [email protected] or just use this nifty link to start an email: Start an Email to send a Picture to Post on Balloon Juice
From Canyon de Chelly
My kind of country! I especially love the intersection in Chinle. I’ve been many places like that, they feel oddly welcoming with their nearby desolation.
And finally for today, pictures from Chaco Canyon:
There’s lots more pics coming tomorrow. Travel well, and have a great day!
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
Wonder what the round thing in Chaco Canuon is. Ceremonial?
That truck is an M 211, we had those in Korea for the first couple of months of my tour.
These pictures are beautiful. Just like postcards.???
ETA for @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
It’s a ‘kiva’,
Nice shots JR, hard to take a bad picture in Canyon de Chelly. I think it’s been almost 20 years since I was in the 4 Corners. Way past time for me to go back.
@OzarkHillbilly: …and then we can tell you that you suck.
Looks amazing! Thanks JR!
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Why wait?
@OzarkHillbilly: Gota save some things for special occasions.
@raven: Wow. I am probably not much younger than you, and I remember seeing my dad s (why won’t Chrome let me do that apostrophe?) photos from when he was in Korea during the US involvement in their civil war. My dad wasn’t in combat. He was medical but not MASH. He loved Korea. Don’t know if he was right or wrong. That was his impression in an emotionally intense time for him.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: I make everything special.
Alain the site fixer
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: and your masterpieces start to run tomorrow!
Fabulous photos and thanks you JR for sharing them with us.
@Sab: I was there 67-68, we had the Blue House Raid, the Pueblo and infiltrators but it was nothing like the Korean War.
JR in WV: LOVE LOVE LOVE the photos! Lived in Ganado for a year and love the geology of the area (even if much of its history in European hands makes me despair). (Was teaching; promised my then 12-yr-old that if she didn’t like it, we could come back east after a year. Turns out she likes a good 3-day rain, whereas I loved being able to camp year round (with no more than a 2 hr drive in winter).
Great pictures! Thanks!
J R in WV
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
The round foundations are for Kivas, which are thought to be religious lodges for associations of members of the local clans… here in Chaco Canyon there are far more Kivas that typical. You can count a ton of them just in one photo there. And they are not all in the photo by any means.
Current thought is that these giant “city” constructions were ceremonial, as there weren’t enough cooking hearths found for more than a few dozen people. Also, most of the rooms were without ventilation or light source, the place was like a maze. The most remote chambers were used for a very few ritual burials, one of which was accompanied by over fifty thousand discrete pieces of turquoise.
It’s a very quiet and odd place, with busy Pueblo park service employees taking care of business and a few tourists, a few locals, and a few students wandering around. Small campground, small residence facility for Park Service employees, long dirt road to reach the park, leaves the pavement in the middle of nowhere. Supposedly 90 minutes from Farmington NM, but really takes longer than that.
Chaco is such a special place, one of my favorite destinations in New Mexico. When my son was a boy, we made annual father-son trips to Chaco filled with camping out at night under the stars and great hikes during the day. The visitor center/museum is filled with numerous artifacts my wife had the pleasure of handling, stabilizing, and cataloging. In 1988, I flew over Chaco Canyon in a hot air balloon, designed by my wife and named The Anasazi by it’s owner, a North Carolina pilot who loved New Mexico. One of the great experiences of my life. I hope the washboard road into the valley never gets a smooth surface allowing the place to become over-burdened my visitors like Mesa Verde.
J R in WV
Here’s a Google Earth link to Pueblo Bonito , which is the largest and most restored “city” in Chaco Canyon National Park. They think these cities were ceremonial, like Vatican City in Rome, sort of.
I count 26 round foundations, and remember that the “city” was multi-story.
On the upper right side you can see where the “Falling Rock”, a large slilce of the canyon side, has fallen and shattered part of the city. This happened in historic time, and the builders knew that rock was falling, very slowly. They placed symbolic braces against it and had ceremonies to keep it from falling on them.
It worked, as the huge block of stone fell years after Europeans exploring the west found the Canyon, and cultural anthropologists found the remains of the rituals to hold the stone up. I’m thinking it fell in the early-mid 1900s, IIRC.
Worth looking at, zooming around. There are many cities like Pueblo Bonito in the canyon, not as large, but similar. They are mostly buried, as they last better underground than they do exposed to the desert wind and storms.
Hoping the link works well for folks, Google Maps can be tricky. This is set to 3-D and close up.
ETA: OH Cool, the Google Earth link works great, you can see the falling rock damage and the kivas and rooms real well. Some of those round foundations may have been graineries, but most are kivas.
J R in WV
I agree that it is better that some places remain a little more remote and away from crowds. How wonderful to sail above the canyon in a balloon!!!! Now I’m really jealous!
There’s a butte south of the visitor center with time keeping marks inside a layer of standing stones broken away from the main core of the butte, and the marks help time lunar events and annual solstices and such.
A truly strange and fascinating place… we will never, can never know what these people thought and believed about the strange places they lived.
There are “roads” on the mesas above the canyon, that may have been to allow people in distant surrounding towns to see signals at night, like fire light, or perhaps to bring logs from surrounding mountains, where the only source of trees for floor beams and roof beams were.
They had to carry their building logs a very long way as no trees useful for that grew anywhere nearby. So why build out in the desert? We’ll never be sure.
@J R in WV:
Hope this link works. Great information JR. I last saw the Sun Dagger in place on Fajada Butte in 88 before erosion and damage from visitors ruined it. We hiked up the Butte with Chaco’s resident archaeologist. PBS filmed a short documentary on the Sun Dagger that was interesting and well done, narrated by Robert Redford, if I remember.
ETA Our flight took us over Pueblo Alto. We were not allowed to lift off from the park grounds, nor were we allowed to land within the park boundaries.
J R in WV
That’s a great link! Thanks. I bought all the books they had in the visitor’s center, so we have got a good start on knowing about the culture, to the very limited extent that we can at the late date.