I drove to Norman, Oklahoma and loaded in David Martin‘s Saturn. We got an early start. As usual, we drove through gloomy weather until we hit the New Mexico border, where the clouds parted. Forecasts for our destination indicated a slight chance of rain.
Military truck: NPOKUS. Sign at Cline’s Corners: “Mugs, spoons, shotglasses: huge selection.”
In Moriarty, New Mexico, stopped at El Comedor restaurant to photograph large spiked, rotating sign, later nicknamed “The Mohedrus.”
We made camp before dark, then hiked the Chaco Canyon Overlook Trail for a brief sunset image.
We made a huge fire and huddled around it for more than two hours.
• Casa Chiquita, Peñasco Blanco, and Canyon Overlook
It rained off and on all night, but was dry by morning.
We hiked the Peñasco Blanco Trail, the longest in the canyon, in the morning, in some very unusual light, with a cold wind swirling around us. The trail took us past the Casa Chiquita great house. Peñasco Blanco is an outlier of the main Chacoan community.
A spur trail took us to the famous Supernova Platograph, which is believed to represent the sighting of the Crab Supernova of July 5, 1054, which was also recorded by Chinese and Arab astronomers, and may have been visible during daylight hours for many days after it occurred.
We took another hike to the Canyon Overlook, then drove to last Pueblo Bonito to photograph the sunset on the ruins.
The night at Gallo Campground was very cold.
• Tsin Kletsin and Wijiji
Pearl blue skies and bright sun greeted us for this morning’s hike to Tsin Kletsin, one of the best in the canyon. We made the loop, starting at Casa Rinconada, and returning via the south gap.
After lunch we broke camp, then hiked Wijiji, one of the lonelier trails in the canyon, under perfectly blue skies.
I have now hiked every trail in Chaco Canyon.
• Aztec Ruins and Angel Peak
Aztec Ruins National Monument; I shot more and better than I expected, including some interesting black-and-white. Amidst cold air and blue skies, I shot the cliché view inside the great kiva.
We spent the rest of the day at Angel Peak Recreation Area, which we found to be visually very interesting, but lacking in trails and facilities. We hiked to the bottom of some canyons and arroyos before positioning ourselves for sunset.
• The Road East
At the “Plague Town,” which is actually an abandoned service station and frontier museum, I made better pictures than the last two visits combined.
Odd event, near the New Mexico-Texas border: we saw state troopers stop the entire flow of traffic in the opposite direction on I-40. About five minutes later, they stopped all traffic in our direction of travel. After about 15 minutes, with no explanation, they opened our direction.