Before I relate my further adventures in Chaco Culture National Historic Park, I invite you to checkout the Stickman game. Too fun.

So – Saturday started early with a trip around the edge of the campground to look at petroglyphs and ruins – right where the campground is. Too cool.
Then we went to see the rest of the big houses, with a stop at the cultural center to see what the weather forecast for Sunday would be, as my sister and I were planning on driving home on Sunday via some back roads. The helpful ranger told me it was 60% chance of rain on Sunday afternoon, so we should be okay to leave on the longer southern route (all dirt). So that was the plan: get up early, get out before the rain, head south through the western part of New Mexico (which is supposed to be very beautiful).
We looked at Pueblo del Rio (and the names have faded now – anyway – this one was near the wash). That was cool. Then we went on a hike to the outer houses – where we had to fill out an info sheet in case we didn’t return or something? Of fell off the rim hike.
We got to a nice medium sized ruin next to the cliff wall – which was where the rim hike happened. My sister was not interested in hiking up the steep trail (more like rock climbing) so she stayed below. The rest of us went up. The view was fabulous. Evidently there is another ruin back in from the rim hike – but we didn’t want to spend that much time up there since my sister was alone. So – we got to look down at Pueblo Bonito and the others, and see some holes that were dug to catch water. Several people had piled stones in artful shapes. I’m not sure why people do that – balance stones. Must be some sort of new age thing that I never got into because I remember seeing them at the “vortex” in Sedona (near Bell Rock). Anyway – windy at the top – so I could see why an info form was needed for the rim walk – and how easy it would be to fall 300 feet to the ruin below.
No one fell, and we made it back down. Yes I scraped myself and had a wonderful ass bruise but totally worth the trip.
Then we had to find my sister, which took a while. My legs were jelly- which just tells me that I was out of shape. No surprise there. Now (a month later) I am even more out of shape.
Anyway – finally caught up with my sister and we went back to see a big house we’d skipped. This one had the largest kiva out of the bunch – and a really long back wall that used to have a porch on it. We speculated about the women of the area siting out having their margaritas and catching rays.
Exhausted (at least me), we returned to the campsite for dinner and drinks. It was my brother’s turn to cook and we had cast iron enchiladas and margaritas. Yum.
The clouds moved in and my sister and I packed up our tent and decided to sleep in the car – which worked out because at 2am it started to rain. We were both still drunk and very tired, but…by 2:30 we decided we were leaving – with the intention to find a hotel in Cuba or ABQ and sleep. The dirt road out was clear – even the wash wasn’t running.
No hotels available in Cuba or Albuquerque – so we drove on via i-25 until we made it home.
My brother called us at 8:30am (we were outside of Socorro NM at that point) to say that they’d gotten up at 6:30 – still raining – and had just gotten out and the roads were terrible. We were lucky.
We made it home, exhausted, somewhat ill, but very happy.
I’d do it again – even the wee hours in the morning drive.
Next year we think maybe Mesa Verde.

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