The ancients paid close attention to the skies overhead. What might the residents of today's Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico thought if they could view the stars as Tyler Nordgren captured them in this time-lapse photograph of the sky over Casa Rinconada?
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Because it runs almost 2,500 miles across the United States, there's wisdom in traveling U.S. Route 66 in bites. Such a strategy not only makes it easier to fit into the typical one- or two-week vacation, but it allows you to take a slower pace to enjoy more of the landscape both directly alongside, and nearby, this iconic highway. If your focus is the Land of Enchantment, a good guide for such a trip is New Mexico Kicks On Route 66.
David Hurst Thomas had planned to personally carry the "Pueblo Bonito Frog" from its safe storage at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City to Chaco Culture National Historical Park in a remote and dusty corner of New Mexico as the hallmark of a world-class exhibit of Chaco Culture artifacts. But as problems continue to plague the park's new museum, the exhibit has been put off indefinitely and the frog is remaining in hibernation.
An oddly familiar music greeted me as we pulled up to our reserved site in Gallo Campground, located in a side wing of Chaco Canyon’s buff-colored sandstone cliffs. That sounds like a white-crowned sparrow, I thought as I carried our tent to the 12-foot-square sandbox that would be our sleeping spot for the next four nights. I got out binoculars and, sure enough, there were the telltale white-and-black head stripes that identified it as my favorite mountain songster. But here in the desert? In mid-October? Already this national historical park in New Mexico, which my wife and I and a friend from Albuquerque were visiting for the first time, was surprising me.
They are one of the iconic trees found in parts of the Southwest and Rocky Mountain states. You can’t miss their massive stature and warm, red trunks when you’re out on a hike in the national parks.
It’s hot here. Welcome to the beginning of summer in the Southwest. Two days ago it was raining and near freezing and I was complaining about it at Mesa Verde and now it’s sweat time. But those rains have turned the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park into a veritable flower garden. Everywhere I look there are blooms.
It’s a long, rough and dusty road from anywhere to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. But, boy, is it worth the trip! The fact that it’s such a rough trip may have a lot to do with determining the kind of people who come to visit this place carved out of the high desert of northwestern New Mexico. Unlike visitors to so many other parks, these folks have a certain quality about them that hit me right off the bat.
A day-long celebration will be held Thursday to mark Chaco Culture National Historical Park's designation as an International Dark Sky Park.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park Could Gain Measure Of Protection From BLM Oil And Gas Leasing Plan
Chaco Culture National Historical Park could gain a measure of protection from oil and gas leasing on surrounding public lands via a draft plan crafted by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, though the agency is being prodded to be even more circumspect in shielding the park.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico is home to both outstanding archeological resources and an increasingly rare treasure—dark nights that allow for outstanding viewing of the night skies. The park has just become one of only a dozen Dark Sky Park's recognized around the world by the non-profit International Dark Sky Association (IDA).