Copyright © Erik Pennebaker, All rights reserved

I may not post any picts of the old buildings now - I shot so much on the leica, you'll just have to wait for them to get scanned!

The brief history of the Anasazi, which may only slightly accurate:

  • Overall lived in the four corners area (UT, CO, NM, AZ) from ~500AD - 1300AD. Left area somewhat quickly for unknown reasons, although it's known there was a series of severe droughts starting around 1250AD.
  • They farmed corn, and to a lesser extent squash and beans. They possibly raised turkey, and likely did some hunting.
  • Their initial dwellings were called "kivas", circular underground houses with wood/mud roofs. This would keep them cool in the summer, and warmer in the winter. A small firepit was setup in the center of the room, smoke going out a hole in the roof, which also served as an entrance via a ladder. A small opening along the floor led to a small tunnel/vent adjacent to the kiva. This pulled fresh air in and sent the smoke out the roof.
  • Earliest Anasazi just had the kiva. Later, they began building above ground structures from brick and mortar, sometimes many stories high. The kivas still were built, with one kiva for every few rooms, probably shared by an extended family. The kivas may have become more ceremonial, although they would also provide the most protection in extreme weather so perhaps everyone piled in.
  • In the later stages, Anasazi in this area began building cliff dwellings. The reason is unclear, however it could be for greater protection from the elements or fires, or from each other or more remote tribes, or for some spiritual reason. The Anasazi buildings show signs of intense planning and care given to many aspects of their structures, far beyond basic practical needs, so certainly choosing a location on less than practical grounds is possible.
  • In these structures, they can identify rooms used only for storage. It was storing so much food that got them through winters, and droughts.
  • Their diet must have been pretty light; the average height was under 5' for females, and 5'2 or so for males. If I traveled back in time, I would be a pale giant, who immediately slid down the cliff to my doom trying to use the toe/hand holes. They would lament how poorly people turned out in the future.
  • "Anasazi" is no longer the politically correct term. I'm not 100% clear but apparently instead of meaning "ancestor" it means "enemy ancestor". Worse, the word is Navajo, and the Navajo are not descendants of the Anasazi. It seems a reasonable objection, although the new general term, "Ancestral Puebloans", is a bit of a mouthful.

    Above is a ladder (not ancient) leading up to one of the cliff dwellings. The ranger gave me a Jr. Ranger button for answering a question correctly and in such detail! It made my day. In return I am posting a picture of her rear on the internet. What an asshole!

    The Anasazi used small foot/handholes in the cliff face and just climbed in that way.

    The wood beams you see in the structure are, in fact, original, and they are able to date the structures by them to the year via the tree rings. This lets them see exactly when structures were started, when they were expanded, etc. Also they can see how planned a structure was based on the brickwork.

  • [ tags: anasazi ancestral colorado f20 fuji meraverde puebloans ruins trail travel trip ]

    Copyright © Erik Pennebaker, All rights reserved

    Same ladder.

    Unfortunately on a tour later that day, I was standing over a kiva taking pictures, and pulled my camera out of the bag, and the lens cap caught, and fell into the kiva. I was pretty embarrassed. Since the roof and entry ladder have long since gone away, the kiva is basically an 8' deep pit. Not only would it be difficult to get into and out of to retrieve a lens cap, it would also maybe damage something.

    Luckily the ranger had a giant 10' clamper extension tool, and she deftly retrieved the cap. This certainly held the attention of the other 40 people in the tour. Well, what can ya do.

    [ tags: anasazi ancestral colorado f20 fuji meraverde puebloans ruins trail travel trip ]

    Remote Office
    Copyright © Erik Pennebaker, All rights reserved

    I was actually able to get a little bit of verizon wireless here in the campground.

    So, my first batch of Mostly Organic soup rocked the house. Actually you get so hungry most anything rocks the house.

    To make:
  • Start 2 cups of water boiling
  • Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil if you want. This is good to get some more calories out of it, and the fat calories last a while so it will help keep you warm on a cold night. It's true!
  • Add an appropriate amount of chicken bouillon. I'm not sure there is an organic/fresh/whatever equivalent for "dried cube of chicken essence", and I don't really care. If you don't want to do this, you'd at least need to add salt here.
  • Add some of the dried veggies. I had this dried veggie soup mix, which they had in the small ultra-hippy section of the organic grocery store, where there are the glass jars of strange things like ground dried dandelion root and what not. I had never been in there before, but I came unharmed and not smelling funny. Lacking the mix, I would have gone for some assortment of spices, like celery seed, garlic, onion, etc. You could mix a bunch up at home and put them in a ziplock type bag (I do this with some salt, too)
  • Once boiling, add a bunch of pasta. I got smaller stuff that would cook quickly.
  • Add chili flakes to suit

    It turned out AWESOME, and in a practical sense was no more involved than using a packaged mix. With more planning you could carry a mix of dried veggies and flavors and vary the soup quite a bit - they all take up very little space and weight.

    I'd like to get some kind of quick cooking (10 minutes) barley and maybe rice to toss in also.

    The soup, plus whatever stuff you munch on while the soup is cooking, end up being quite filling

    Mesa Verde NP has a store, right next to the campground, with beer. Joy of joys! Soup and beer! Sometimes it's nice to be way out there. Sometimes it's nice to just be a little out there.

    One downside - the moon has been nearly full for all my camping. The night skies are not very intense.

  • [ tags: campsite colorado f20 fuji meraverde trail travel trip ]

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