On the Road Adventures

Thursday, August 2, 2012

July 27–Hovenweep

I know, I know, it isn’t the 27th but we’ve been so busy!  We haven’t had good wi-fi!  I’ve been hot and tired when we came in for the day.  Any excuse you’d like.  Now I’ll try to play catch-up over the next few days.

The mission for the 27th was to visit Hovenweep National Monument.

199 Twin towers

It’s been on my list of places to see for quite a while now, so it was a major reason for us being in this southeast corner of Utah. Hovenweep is a group of communities of the Ancestral Pueblo peoples that was populated from about 700 A.D. to 1200.  It’s not as big as the communities on Mesa Verde, but that’s part of the attraction – we wouldn’t have to share the experience with 50 other people all moving along at the same pace.

As we started out we discovered one reason that the park isn’t as heavily visited – the GPS in the car was quite convinced that it didn’t exist.  Not too surprising.  I think Honda got the database at the Dollar Store.  But the Garmin didn’t know where it was either.  We had to navigate the old fashioned way:  by map! 

The people who lived in the canyons of Hovenweep settled there because of the springs that flowed with enough water to enable them to farm.  They started building large masonry structures for houses and ceremonial uses about 1100 A.D. and within a hundred years they were gone – driven out by drought and possibly by raiders, since some of the structures seem to be defensive.  The amazing thing is that they still exist in relatively good shape after all these centuries. 

205 Hovenweep castle      Square towers, round towers, still remarkably complete, at least the ones standing on solid rock.  The houses built on fill or on the softer sandstone have collapsed.

224 Holly tilted house   Look at the house behind the first wall – the large chunk of sandstone it was standing on got undercut and tilted to about a 45 degree angle, yet the base of the house still clings together on its pedestal.  Good mortar!

I thought this was the most interesting structure.  It looks like an owl.  200 boulder house

Some trip, when it’s either later or earlier in the season and not as hot, it would be interesting to stay at the campground here.  I understand that not only do you have the ruins, but some of the best dark sky in the world at night. 

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