We had no kiva*

Road NE out of Chaco

We had eight miles of unpaved road coming northeast out of Chaco. Actually, this well-dried zone was a preferred section. Most of the rest was so washboarded that we traveled at around 15 mph to avoid shaking the car to pieces. Had this been wet, um, no Prius clearance…. The wash we crossed yesterday that hosted a trickle was completely dry today. The state is suffering severe and extreme drought levels which benefitted us—the road, though rutted, was dry.

Back, before the ancient ones left, the tree rings show many consecutive years of extreme drought in the AD 1100s. By the end of that, people had left the mountains and canyons, migrating south to the river valleys, including that of the Rio Grande/Río Bravo.

* Kiva is a Hopi word referring to special-purpose round (and sometimes rectangular) rooms that has been adopted by Southwestern archaeologists to refer to semi-subterranean circular rooms of various sizes built for ritual purposes and sited, usually, in a plaza or amongst residential rooms. They characteristically have four support pillars, a firepit, an external air source, and the roof is often missing today, drastically changing the character of the space.

I am wondering if the fact that we had no kiva associated with our tent, as is true of the other campers and park residents, relates to the drought situation, hence the title….

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