I dared to crawl out of my frosted sleeping bag and brave the freezing temperature when the morning sun had risen about a hand’s width from the horizon. I dug out my jacket from under my pillow and then slipped into my Sorell’s (the ground was covered in snow). We hung the bags over the car doors so they could dry off a little while we packed up the rest of the sleeping gear. Even though the shell was wet, the inside of my REI Halo bag had stayed warm throughout the evening’s dip to 15 degrees. If there was a fire in my house, I think I’d grab this bag over photo albums.
An hour or so later we carefully drove down the sloppy dirt and slush road to Chaco Canyon. After a quick pop into the visitor center we parked the car in front of Hungo Pavi and Chetro Ketl , a couple of the grand houses in this awe-inspiring community that had flourished as the hub of ceremony, trade and administration for the prehistoric Four Corners area from AD 850-1250. I admired the architectural designs of the long building but came to a sudden and abrupt halt when I got to the Great Kiva. Deep and circular, this ceremonial site brought tears to my eyes for its attention to detail, beauty and dedication to Spirit. I have a wooden ladder at home that symbolizes this descent to the quietness and peace that come with connection to the love that binds us all. Here before me, was the birth center of this relationship.
We walked in silence through the vast grand houses, some as big as a few acres. Intricate astronomical alignments, geometry, landscaping, and engineering seemed to resonate with the intelligence, foresight and dedication of the Chacoan people as if they had just stepped away for a moment, rather than all but disappearing nearly one thousand years ago.
Back on the slushy road out of Chaco Canyon, we stopped to help a family get their minivan out of the ditch and were splattered with mud when she gunned the engine. Ah well. A quick check on the phone and I found a KOA in Winslow, AZ where we took hot showers for $6 each. We made it into Flagstaff to watch the pinecone drop for the midnight count and drink champagne out of a water bottle. Then it was off to the boonies for another gorgeous night under the stars.