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Weminuche Wilderness 1999

Exploring Chaco Canyon

We were up in time to pack, and catch the first breakfast at LaQuinta, before heading to Chaco. We had studied the roads, and descriptions of how to get there, but the books were older, and the highway had signs strictly specifying the approach route, which involves about 25 miles of gravel road. We did make it to Chaco about 8:30 am. It is a pretty neat place. Based on the amount of time we had available (we figured we had to leave about 1:30 or so, to get back to ABQ to have dinner with Andy and Sue), we felt we could do a couple of ruins and go for a short hike. I was so impressed with the super-kivas that were present, grander than anything I had ever seen in the back country. It was clear that Chaco was an important gathering place. We went thru Pueblo Bonito, and then took a hike which took us to an overlook of it, and then on to another mesa top ruin. The sun was getting strong, so we found some shade next to a ruin wall, and ate lunch. We hiked back to the car, stopped at the visitor center, where they told us that the only way out was the way we came in, and that they could not recommend the alternate route, as it was way too rugged for passenger cars.

It was about 3 hours back to ABQ. We got to the motel, and we could see Andy and Sue moving into their room. It turns out that the LaQuinta had screwed up our reservations, and actually had us at another of their places in town. But there were tons of rooms available, as Labor Day weekend seemed pretty slow in town. We went with A&S to dinner at the original Garduno's in the NW corner of town. As always, great Mexican food. It was sad that vacation was coming to an end, and it was sad that we would not be seeing our friends for several more months. And I was not too thrilled with going back to what I was predicting would be a tough FY 00. But that's life.

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Roger A. Jenkins, 1999