|SITE 6 ó LOOKOUT HOUSE (?)
I donít think this site was much
discussed or even known about until we drove by it and decided to stop
for a few minutes. It was located many more miles west down Willow
Creek Wash, not far from its confluence with Chaco River Wash. A
Pueblo I house was located nearby, but this small fortification may be
a later construction.
We saw quite a few herds of horses
here and there, some running and I found it very inspiring to observe them
in their "wild state". One curious horse noticed us on this low mesa
and ran up to take a closer look at us, then bolted back down the hill.
I was barely able to catch it on camera before it disappeared.
This "Lookout House" site is on the south side of the lower Willow
Creek Wash. In the distance you can see the sand of the Chaco River
Wash, where these 2 drainages have their confluence. The masonry
here appears later than Pueblo I, but at least one Pueblo I site lies within
100 feet of this lookout.
I barely caught this horse on camera as it was running away from
me. It ran up a nearby slope to take a look at us, then bolted back
down the hill and disappeared. Many such inspiring images of really
good-looking horses, running in herds or alone, crossed my path this day.
SITE 7 ó GREAT BEND HOUSE
I missed getting a good photo of
this ruin site. It resembled others we explored today, a Pueblo I
site to Tom Windesí eyes and is large. The shard concentration was
again spectacular. This site lies on the south side of Chaco River
just east of the Great Bend.
We are now on the Great Bend Site, looking north to the confluence
of Willow Creek and Chaco River (just follow the green tree lines!).
The Great Bend itself is a little ways to the west (right) out of photo.
Behind me lie the several rubble mounds and extensive pot shard detritus
of this site.
Most of the pottery shards collected for this photo at the Great Bend
site are Chuskan gray-wares. Note the many varieties of corrugation, some
distinctively patterned. It appears that the earliest, local potters
experimented with just about every possible corrugation technique imaginable!
||Click the image to see an enlargement
Click the image to see an enlargement
I took this photo to show the pot shard and lithic scatter observed
over a wide area here. One intrepid soul found an intact, perfectly
fluted arrowhead among them!
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND
I hate to intrude, in a way. Many small and a few larger critters
make their homes OUT THERE. All make tracks and not much else.
I felt a little alien in such a pure, unsullied environment where space
and quiet are manifested with profuse exuberance. It would take awhile
to physically and spiritually harmonize with this kind of hallowed emptiness.
I saw only 2 lizards myself the 3
days I was in this area. We saw some birds, not many, mostly crows. Some
big holes in the ground. Many ants. Quite a few horses. Some sheep,
goats and llamas at the Navajo farms we passed (about 4-5 clan settlements
the entire stretch of the 30 miles we drove). It is empty and without
much vegetation, no water or trees.
As we headed back east after the
Great Bend House, I noticed that our driverís auto temp gauge registered
an outdoor ambient temperature of 114 degrees at around 5:30 pm while we
were in lower Willow Creek.
This journey was taken on Navajo
Nation land. Apply for a permit before entering these areas.
One can get easily lost in this area with many confusing turns and similar
landscapes until you are familiar with the territory. You should
have a guide familiar with the landscape. Almost no one lives in
this area. No vehicles passed our convoy in either direction all
day. Most cell phones will not connect. So drive at least 2
vehicles, take a lot of water and time, and those permits are highly recommended
if you venture OUT THERE!
Reference: A good book for the lay
person to read which discusses this area and its associated ruins, with
floor plans in most cases, is: ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE OF THE SOUTHWEST
by William N. Morgan. U of Texas Press. Austin. 1994. This book provides
an extensive bibliography for further reading and study.
So be careful and take all of your
precautions along with a Navajo guide if possible, or your car or you could
look like this! It can still be pretty darned dangerous OUT THERE!
(part B) (part C)