Anasazi: The Chaco Canyon Collection, Part 4 - The Call of Chaco: Hawk Circle

We wrapped up our shooting and as we headed back to our vehicles I stopped on the trail to take a look back at Hungo Pavi and tried to imagine myself as an original inhabitant of this marvel of ancient America. What it must have been like for those living in and around Chaco. Did the “Anasazi” or “Chacoans” ever wonder if their magnificent structures would still be standing after more than 1200 years? Like a photograph these beautiful Great Houses and Towns are frozen in time, a snapshot of an earlier time and place. I think it’s a fair bet that the ruins will outlast any photograph, drawing, or painting of them. As photographers we know that preserving and protecting them is essential to understanding and documenting the past. If any of the photographs we took on this trip contribute to the conservation of Chaco Canyon then we will have succeeded.

As we approached our vehicles we were made aware of just how quickly the weather can change in the high desert. Heavy and darkening clouds rolled in from the north over the mesa, the increasing cold wind and rain enveloping us almost instantly. We considered waiting it out but decided to take the park road around for a drive-by viewing of some of the other ruins. The one-way park drive is about 9 miles long and as we were nearing the entrance the rain slackened just long enough for me to setup my camera and tripod to photograph the ominous looking clouds that were forming over Fajada Butte. I was able to capture just 2 shots, one vertical and one horizontal, the blowing wind and rain catching me before I made it back to the car.

We drove back to the campsite and wound up preparing and eating a late lunch underneath a tarp we setup between our vehicles. After a while the weather improved again and we set out for Chetro Ketl. We parked our vehicles and noticed that a ranger and a group of visitors were gathered at the junction of the trails to Chetro Ketl and Pueblo Bonito. They were about to take a guided tour of Pueblo Bonito. We decided to join the group and the tour turned out to be enjoyable and very informative. As it turned out the ranger was giving her first guided tour. One astonishing bit of information she gave us was that only one percent of Chaco has been excavated. None of the books I had read told of this. Indeed, Chaco is even more magnificent than we can imagine.

My sincere thanks to Ronald Roybal for allowing me the honor of using his song “Hawk Circle” from his brilliant CD “Visions of the 4th World”. Ronald is a Native American flutist and classical guitarist in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With his music these photographs convey a true spirit of this beautiful place. For more information about Ronald visit his website:
The site is very interactive with lots of media and ordering CDs & DVDs is easy.


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