The first backpacking trip of spring

Joan and I try to maximize the most out of our free time. We camp, hike, or backpack nearly every one of our now long weekends and typically camp out the night before.

But a significant life event meant we temporarily curtailed our roaming about to make our new house a home for us.

And after three weekends of schlepping, painting, and rearranging, we wanted to get out and about again.

We saw a canyon that intrigued us for a while now on the map. But we found no information in the usual guidebooks and scant info online.

These facets mean we’d probably enjoy the place!

We scoped out the road conditions via maps and took a slight chance of not finding any technical obstacles.

Once we parked and hiked into the canyon, only some willow bashing proved the only obstacle of note.

What did we find?

No surprise – we found social trails that, no doubt, got used by generations of travelers.

And along these trails, we spotted panels on the cliff walls –

And from the high panel, we could see our route further into the canyon.

Along the way, Joan peered into a cave-like crack in the rock. She paused, stupefied.

What could cause her to have such a reaction?

I peeked into the crack and muttered a mix of “colorful language” and religious terms that the Catholic nuns who taught me would not appreciate.

But I feel my exclamations justified.

In the desert sand lay a corrugated pot—a 700+-year-old artifact of the culture from this region.

And here it lay, undisturbed,

I never saw anything like this pot outside of a museum. It’s uplifting to know many people over the years passed by this cultural heritage and left it in place for others to appreciate and reflect upon the people who made this region their home.

Our walking led us up a series of cliff-side structures that also seemed remarkably well preserved.

Another old travel path lead along the escarpment and back down the canyon floor.

We soon encountered another set of structures along the cliff wall. A bit too high to reach and not something we could, or want to, climb to see.

But other structures did allow us to peer inside.

Pictograph on the “ceiling” with original yucca cordage in the upper-left of the wood.

Looking inside the large granary, we could see long corn cobs along with a mano and metate. It all looked in situ and largely undisturbed.

Images near the structures indicated that the area formed more than just practical food storage.

On the way back, we scouted a potential canyon exit for a future trip and found ourselves pleased at the future potential of this route.

We found a place for the evening and enjoyed an enjoyable night out under the stars, and savored a blissful night of sleep.

Our walk-out proved uneventful, and we left before any rains came.

Though we did find a social path that connects to another place we want to see for our next trip. We’ll look at maps and savor what’s to come.

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Jason J
Jason J
6 months ago

What a find!!!!! I just got back from a Grand Gulch trip and was able to see a lot of great ruins, but nothing like the untouched wonders that you found. Hopefully that pot will remain hidden and untouched for a couple more hundred years. Thanks for sharing!

Victor
6 months ago

Thanks for sharing. I’m amazed by your findings.
/Victor in Sweden

dgray
dgray
6 months ago

Wow, this is incredible. It would be a dream come true to see a pot this intact at the original site. It’s a testament to your skills and planning that you found such a place. Congratulations.