Thanks so much for visiting our travel blog. We hope that you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we're enjoying living them. Let us know what you think - leave a comment or two.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hovenweep National Monument

Today is our last day in "Mesa Country" as they call this area. So, Randy needed to hit one more Ancestral Puebloan monument. Off we went, about 50 miles northeast to find Hovenweep National Monument. The name "Hovenweep" was given to this area by photographer William Henry Jackson who was here in 1874. "Hovenweep" is a Ute/Paiute word meaning deserted valley. I think it's a good name because it is in the middle of nowhere. The park was designated a national monument in 1923.

The people of Hovenweep were related to those who built the cliff dwellings we explored at Mesa Verde. However, these structures were not built into cliffs or alcoves, but on top of the ground. Also, like Mesa Verde, the concentration of population here was during the 1200s, with most of the structures being built between 1230 to 1275. Hovenweep's trademark is the many towers that were built in addition to kivas, pithouses, and pueblos.

The trail we walked is called the Square Tower Community and is found at the center of a 500 square mile area called Cajon Mesa. It is a 2 mile loop around the rim of the canyon, with one 80 foot descent, then ascent in order to get from one side to the other and takes about an hour to walk. This community is just part of many settlements that are found within a day's walk of one another.

Walking up the canyon
Randy's waiting for me
Hovenweep Castle
Square Tower found farther down in the canyon than other structures
We really enjoyed the walk around the canyon, seeing salamanders and beautiful vegetation as well as the phenomenal structures. There has been very little archeological excavation at this site so what you find here is original and left by the Ancestral Publeoans. When I asked the ranger why no excavation is being done here, I was told that because of the extensive archeological investigations done at Mesa Verde, it is felt that is isn't necessary to disturb this place. It is very cool that we were standing in the same place as people did over 700 years ago and looking at their homes and ceremonial sites.

One of our salamander friends
Looking across the canyon
Twin Towers
We have so enjoyed our stay in Mancos, Colorado. We've seen and learned about so a people neither of us had known much about. And we got to spend time with good friends. As a matter of fact, we're going to see Russ & Pat one more time tomorrow morning for breakfast as we head out toward Colorado Springs.

We'll spend one night on the road and get to Colorado Springs on Wednesday. We'll be spending time with our oldest daughter, Ginny, and our grandson, Tommy. We're looking so forward to seeing them as it's been quite awhile - since last July!

More pictures can be found here. Enjoy! Until the next time . . .

1 comment:

  1. Be sure to visit Seven Falls and Garden of the Gods while in Colorado Springs. We also enjoyed the Cog Railway up to Pikes Pike...but given your recent railroad experience, you may not be as impressed! Of course you can always drive up to Pikes Pike!