Monday, May 26, 2014

Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National monument is located on the Utah-Colorado border just north of the Four Corners of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. There are the remains of six Anasazi villages located along a small canyon. The Anasazi, also called Ancient Puebloans, built these between about 1200 and 1300 AD. The unique things about the construction at Hovenweep is the number of towers they built and the quality of their masonry. Some of them were built on large boulders or outcroppings of rock and so have managed to stay standing. Before they left, sometime around 1300-1350, there were about 2500 people living in the Hovenweep area. No one knows for sure why they left; drought, overuse of the resources and/or enemy predations or a combination of these and other factors have all been suggested. It is thought that these people are the ancestors of today's Pueblo people.

Above are the remains of two towers built on substantial rocks. These are quite close to the visitor center. The function of the various towers is uncertain. They are often associated with kivas, so may have been ceremonial. They may also have been living quarters, used for storage, or used for defense. They may have started out as one thing and then morphed into something else.

The ruin above looks to me like it is some sort of rock crocodile or something similar. At first it appeared to have  fallen but if you look closely the wall on the far left is perpendicular. I think this structure was built on a piece of rock already tilting to the right. Below is another interesting structure. This one is built inside the rock, so it looks like it is being swallowed by some prehisoriac beast.

The first two photos below are of lichens found growing on the rocks and sometimes on the masonry in the area. I love the orange and turquoise colors. The third photo is of some small high desert flowers. The photos were taken in mid April; the elevation is about 5800 feet.

The photo above is part of a ruin called Hovenweep Castle. The wall below is a remaining part of a round structure, could have been a tower or even a kiva. Note the masonry with the use of the small rocks in the mortar lines. Very attractive.

The two photos above are of a ruin called Square Tower. This ruin sits in the botton of the canyon, built on a substantial rock outcropping. There are the remains of a small dam in the creek bottom just to the right of the tower. This ruin is located at the north east end of the canyon.

This is as far as the Old Cowboy made it on this venture. The rest of the photos shown below were taken with my camera by my wife or the OWH. A few days before we left home the Old Cowboy tripped and fell flat on the sidewalk in front of his house. I lay there awhile sunning myself but decided I hadn't hit my head and nothing else appeared to be broken so I got up and went on about my business. I thought I was fine. By the time we drove the 440 miles to Blanding, Utah I was quite stiff. The trails around Hovenweep are uneven and rocky, so when we got to the Square Tower I was in a world of hurt. I gave my camera to my wife and went back to the visitors center. That ended my walking around. After we got home I did a lot of heat therapy and am fine now.

From the visitors center we drove abut 4 miles into Colorado and two other areas of the Hovenweep monument. The photos below are of that area. Below is a tower , again built on a large rock outcropping. The second photo shows the door up close.

The photo above is of a rectangular building or tower built on the canyon rim.

An up close look at the masonry.

It was cloudy the whole time we were there--until we left to come home, of course. Oh, well. You just have to play the hand you're dealt.