Susan and I decided to go south to Peco’s National Park. After an hour’s drive on 25 we arrived to find an empty trading post. No trails to hike. There was a large plaque with the history of the area. Looking at the images online as I write this we clearly were in the wrong place! What a shame to have missed the real deal!
Quick reroute and we were driving back to Santa Fe, the same route we took coming south, and on our way to the Puye Cliff Dwellings. What a great choice! A not to be missed tour.
We arrived just in time for the 12 o’clock tour – having left at 930am! The whole tour was magical. Our tour guide was a local Native American, Derek, who is clearly a wonderful ambassador for his people. He talked so intelligently and eloquently about his people, the history, and it’s future. He sees his generation coming out from the self imposed silence of the older generations and introducing Americans to their customs and way of life. After the atrocities suffered by the Native Americans, especially the Navajo in this area, they took their hearts, souls, and ceremonies inside the kiva and maintained great secrecy. No white people allowed in. They are now proudly calling themselves Diné as Navajo was an American name given to them and has no meaning in their language.
Derek told us the pottery shards contain the spirit of those that made them and if we take them home we will be haunted by those spirits. The piles of shards are those that have been returned because those that took them were being haunted! That was enough to make me a believer!
Leaving the mesa and climbing down to the cliff dwellings.
The cave dwellings were dug into the rock with wonderful petroglyphs high above on the wall. Some of the dwellings were 2 and 3 stories so they could stand on the roofs and carve these petroglyphs or paint the pictographs.