Saturday, September 22, 2012

Yellowjacket Ruins, Anasazi Heritage Center and Dolores Harvest Festival

On Saturday, Dolores was having a Harvest Festival and they were giving rides on the Galloping Goose.
From 1933 to 1949 this Galloping Goose #5 provided supplies and delivered mail to the San Juan Mountain area.  The Pierce Arrow body and buick motor were cheaper to operate than a steam engine or diesel engine locomotive.

The Galloping Goose #5 has been fully restored and is on display in Dolores.

They were even giving rides, but the track only extended about a block.  So, they let you ride up and down the block two whole times.

As we were walking across the street I noticed the bear in the back of this pickup.  It is now bear season and these guys were bringing in their bear for processing and stuffing.  They planned on making sausage out of the meat and they were going to give half to the community, then have the bear stuffed.  It was a large bear, about 400 pounds.  I have to say this was the only bear I have seen this year in Colorado, even though many places I've been have been having problems with bears because of the drought.  The need for food and water has brought them into populated areas more this year than normal.

The Anasazi Heritage Center was on the way to town.  It had a nice exhibit inside and then we walked to the top of the hill where the Escalante Pueblo was located.

From the top of the hill you had a great view of McPhee Reservoir, which right now is very, very low on water, like everything else in Colorado.
Joyce discovered there was a guided hike to Yellowjacket Ruins on Sunday.  These ruins are not public or accessible, being behind locked gates, and are made available with a free, guided tour only several times a year.  There is a limit of 20 people per tour, so we were lucky we were able to get 11 of us on the tour.
In addition to our group, there were about six others, including one archaeologist, Virginia Wolfe.
As we headed out there was nothing to indicate ruins were in our path.  To most of us it simply looked like we were hiking to some low, scrubby hills, topped by rocks.  As we got closer we found we were hiking on a mesa, next to a small valley.

There were some ruins down in the valley (a cave), but we couldn't go there because it was located on private property.  But above we did find these petroglyphs.  Virginia said they were a warning to stay away.

Down a short way was another etching.  I believe they called these 'lizard men'.

As we came upon the first big hill, this large stone was pointed out.  It was one of several stones which used to stand upright.  They had something to do with their calendar and reading the sun's movements.

These rocks are all that is left of one of the largest pueblo ruins in this area of the country.  There were over 800 rooms and kiva's here at one time.

This is the only standing stone still standing.  Upon close examination, you can tell the stone was shaped before being stood upright.

The archaeologist pointed out the remains of a wall, probably to a small tower.

There were pottery shards all over the fields.

Another pottery shard.  Some archaeological diggings have been done in the area and these shards date back 800 years or so.

The group is standing on what was once a tower-kiva.  Below was a kiva, but instead of the top being part of the plaza, they built a multi-level tower.  This kiva was dug out, inspected and notes made, before being filled back in.  As you can tell, this entire ruins have not been reconstructed in any way.

This is what they found during the archaeological exploration and dig.
The guide was very good, but I'm glad we had the archaeologist too.  She had some interesting ideas and information about the Puebloan Indian culture.  

1 comment:

Barbara and Ron said...

I love that Galloping Goose. A very clever way to more stuff.