Sunday, June 22, 2014

Betatakin Ruin

Betatakin is an Anasazi, also called Ancient Puebloans, ruin located on Navajo National Monument. The road to Navajo National Monument is highway 564, just west of Kayenta, Arizona on Highway 160. Betatakin is located on the Shonto plateau in Tsegi canyon. The canyon rim above Betatakin is about 7200 feet in elevation. The ruin is located in an alcove in the canyon wall. The alcove offers protection from the weather.

Betatakin was "discovered" in 1895 by the Wetherill brothers, who also discovered Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon. The Wetherills guided people to various sites in New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. and then became active in preservation of these areas.

There is an approximately one mile round trip trail from the visitors center to a view point which gives an excellent view of the ruin. There is also available a guided tour of the ruin which involves a somewhat strenuous hike. This tour is available in the summer months only.

Below are two photos of Tsegi Canyon taken from the trail leading to the view point.

The photos below are of the Betatakin alcove and ruin from the viewpoint showing the alcove in relation to the canyon. The alcove is 425 feet high and 370 feet in length.


The next three photos are of the ruins themselves. Betatakin was constructed between about 1267 and 1286 AD and abandoned about 1306. There are 120 rooms and one kiva. Many of the ladders and roofs are still intact.  Approximately 125 people lived here. Like most if not all the other Anasazi sites it is not clear why they left.

The two photos below are of dinosaur footprints which were found in the area and now are near the visitor's center. There are also a number of other dinosaur footprints near Tuba City that I have seen.

There are two other ruins in Navajo National Monument. One is Keet Seel which is available by guided tour only and the other is Inscription House which is closed to the public. Unfortunately I have never seen either of these.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Teton Back Pack

Back in the day, 1970 and 1971, to be exact, two friends of mine and I back packed into the Tetons. That's right--two years in a row. We were slow learners. On the map below you can see where we went. We took a boat across Jenny Lake and then hiked up the trail that goes due west. At the fork in the trail we took the right hand fork and went north to the small body of water where the trail then makes another hard right and heads east. That small body of water is Lake Solitude. Jenny Lake is about 6800 feet in elevation.  From the west side of Jenny Lake it is 7.2 miles to Lake Solitude, which is 9035 feet high. There is a trail around Jenny Lake but why add 2+ miles to the hike? The trail continues across Paint Brush Divide, altitude 10,720 feet, and ends in Jackson Hole at String Lake. The photos are all from August 1971.

Below is a photo of my friends, Tony Anderson on the left and Jay Barney. This photo was taken in the boat as we were preparing to leave the boat dock on the west side of the lake to begin our adventure. I know this was at the beginning of the hike because they are so clean and bright eyed and bushy tailed.

The photo below is of the Jenny Lake boat dock as we are leaving to cross the lake to begin the hike. Note the Pepsi machine. More on that later.

Below is a photo of the Grand Teton peak from the boat as we are crossing Jenny Lake.

The trail follows along side Cascade Creek as it flows down Cascade Canyon. Below we are crossing a rock field.

The photo below shows a quiet section of Cascade Creek with one of the Teton peaks in the background.

Somewhere along the trail we happened upon this group of horse back riders and wrangler shown below. I think they told us they were out for a day ride.

Below Jay is taking a rest.

The photo below is of the creek where it comes out of Lake Solitude.

Lake Solitude at last! In the photo below the two peaks in the background are Mount Owen on the left and the Grand Teton on the right.

The two photos below show our tents set up at Lake Solitude.

We arrived at Lake Solitude in late afternoon. We set up our tents and then built a small fire and were contemplating dinner, as in the photo below. As we were sitting there I looked up and standing right in front of me was a tall guy who turned out to be a Park Ranger. He asked if we had a permit to camp there. We said no. How about a permit for the fire? We again said no. We also said we had been to this spot the year before and no permits had been required. He acknowledged that was true but during the winter the Park Service had decided to implement a permit system. Poorly advertised, of course. We asked what did he want us to do, put the fire out? Leave? He said no as long as we were already there it would be okay but next time be sure and get permits.

It turned out he or another Ranger "swept" the trail from Jenny Lake to Lake Solitude and on over Paint Brush Divide and back to String Lake in Jackson Hole once a day. All he carried was a canteen of water. Distance: 18+ miles. In the photo below you can see part of  the trail leading up to Paint Brush Divide. We took a canteen the next morning and hiked up to the top of Paint Brush Divide. What took us an hour took him about 15 minutes.

Above is a photo looking across Lake Solitude to the Cathedral Group of peaks. The one on the left is Teewinot, in the middle is Mt. Owen with Grand Teton on the right. This is early August and there are still pieces of ice on the lake and plenty of snow around. I love the moon hanging over it all. The photo below shows Grand Teton and Mt. Owen with a little Alpine glow in the evening.

In the morning we had breakfast, took some water and hiked up to Paint Brush Divide. The photo below shows Lake Solitude and the basin it sits in from part way up to Paint Brush Divide. The second photo shows Tony and Jay at or near the top of Paint Brush.

 Below are some alpine flowers on Paint Brush Divide.

The first photo below shows the divide as the trail starts to go towards Jackson Hole. The second shows the Cathedral Group from Paint Brush Divide, and the third one is of Jackson Hole from Paint Brush Divide.

I don't remember what time of day we hiked down from Lake Solitude. I just remember being plenty hot and dry. I kept thinking about that cold Pepsi waiting for me in the Pepsi machine at the Jenny Lake boat dock. When we got off the boat I went straight for the Pepsi machine and deposited the requisite amount of money and pressed the button. Nothing happened. I pressed the button repeatedly and nothing happened. I kicked the machine. All I got was a sore foot. I shook it. Nothing. If I could have I think I would have gladly pushed it into the lake. Oh, well.

A note on the photos: The film was Kodachrome, taken with a Mamiya-Sekor 1000DTL 35mm SLR, 50 or 55mm Mamiya-Sekor lens. The slides were scanned on a plustek 8200i film scanner.