Today we watched the sunrise from the top of our mesa. Mom and I stumbled out into the darkness and walked hrough a prettyish little wilderness in front of our cabin. I thought about rattlesnakes, but I also thought about cool pictures one could take. Pictures won. We were rewarded for our dedication by the stunning celestial display of gradual shifts from cold pale violet to rich buttery gold...
I walked around the lodge grounds and it was all dejavu- pioneer camp Geolog, 45 years ago... same dry warm fragrant air, elevation, shrubs and precipitous slopes, and long, long vistas.
In the afternoon we joined a guided bus tour around the most important sites of the cliff dwellers. The Ancient Pueblo people (Anasazi in Navajo language) lived here from 100 BC to 1200 AD. They started on the mesa top, hunting, domesticating corn, beaans and squash - and turkey - and eventually creating hundreds of small settlements along the cliff sides. Some were small, and housed one big family, others - up to a hundred people. With the drought in the 1200 the settlements were abandoned and the people moved to Rio Grande valley, eventually mixing up with local tribes.
One can easily spend a week here - there are plenty of guided hiking tours, some extremely challenging, some less. I did my own hike to the Cliff Palace. It was not too strenuous, but rather exciting - the carved in stone passages, roughly hewn stone steps and breathtaking views are fascinating by themselves, but then you turn around the corner and --- a-ah! the whole gigantic complex of structues is glowing in the afternoon sun as if truly one enetered the lost city of gold.
The story of the cliff dwellers is somewhat similar to the story of Maya civilization - depleting soils, erosion, deforestation, loss of water, game... The studies showed steady decline in the diet of cliff dwellers who once ate elk and in the end consumed forest rats. Instead of juniper wood they burned sage...
We finished our day in style - we went to the restaurant and had some delicious food and local beer!
I love these movies!
- The Fall, directed by Tarsem
- Amelie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jennet
- Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson
- Moulan Rouge, directed by Baz Luhrman
- Moonsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair
- Australia, directed by Baz Luhrman
- Despereately seeking Susan, directed by Susan Seidelman
- Miss Pettigrew lives for a day, directed by Bharat Nalluri
Favorite books and authors
- Boris Vassiliev, historical novels
- C.Cherryh, Morgaine Sagas
- Ch.Dickens, The Bleak House
- George Martin, The Chronicles of Ice and Fire
- Gregory Frost, Shadow Bridge novels
- Heinrich Mann, Henry the IV
- J.R.R.Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
- Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Emma
- Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time
- Sir Thomas Mallory, Le Mort D'Artur
- Ted Williams, Green Angel Tower
- Terry Goodkind, Magician's First Rule and the following books in this saga
- Thomas Mann, Joseph and his Brothers