Spring Ruins Run ’14
March 2014 with the Creeper Jeepers
Our southwestern corner of the world is a treasure of archaeological sites, ruins and more. One little known area is the Navajo Pueblitos, near Blanco, New Mexico, in the canyons of Gobernador, Largo and Ice. The Pueblitos are Navajo Defensive sites, built in the late 1600’s to early 1700’s when the Spanish were pushing their way in to the Dinetah homeland. While they look somewhat Anasazi (or Ancestral Puebloan, to be correct), these structures were built several hundred years after the climax of the Chaco and Mesa Verde structures.
Pam and Doug Ramsey have spent much of the winter exploring the canyons and searching for ruins, based on very vague information from the BLM. Mapping and graphing locations (as defensive sites, these are very hard to find if just traveling the oil field roads). We decided to take a group from our club, Creeper Jeepers Gang on a March trip to share what we have found. The response was so big that we ended up doing two days, a Saturday (March 22, 2014) and the following Tuesday. Our goal was to lessen our impact on the sites while still allowing everyone time to explore.
Both days found us starting out bright and early and meeting at the grocery store in Bloomfield, New Mexico. Our group is outstanding at being on time, and we departed easily at 9:00am from the parking lot with no stragglers either day. Some had well over an hour and half drive to be there by 8:45am.
Heading out, we stopped to air down before entering the canyon. The roads are all oil field, but just rough and bumpy. Our first stop was Gould Pass site, perched on the edge of a canyon, you can climb into this one and come out on the top and see the entire Four Corners area, and the ceiling still had the original log vigas. After climbing around here and taking many pictures, we heading off down another bumpy dirt road off into the middle of the oil fields to look for the “Citadel”
The Citadel is considered one of the most awe inspiring ruins, perched on a rock outcropping, there is just one small door in the back that requires a pretty good scramble to get to. Easily defend-able against enemies, this is a beautiful ruin with the ceiling beams still in place. This area became our lunch stop both days.
We were fortunate to have Yvonne Lashmett along, riding in one of her friend’s jeeps. She is a professional photographer who does amazing work. She took this framed shot of the “Citadel” from the canyon below.
Another view, from the front. We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. Warm and sunny, a spectacular southwestern spring day.
While in route to the next site, we were greeted by a small herd of Antelope. Unusual for us to see in the desert, they seemed to have no fear and stopped to pose for us, many pictures were taken of these magnificent animals. I’m sure they are used to the oil field workers traveling the back roads on a regular basis.
Next stop was Tapocito Site. This had been a standoff between Spanish explorers and Navajos and history tells us a number of Navajo’s were killed on this site. We did find a number of pottery shards on the midden pile below the ruin. We carefully looked and placed items back exactly where we found it.
Doug had done extensive research over the course of the winter and was more than happy to share what he had learned.
Lining up at Tapocito Site. We had everything from Jeeps to pickups.
A pretty good scramble to the top of another canyon wall, and this ruin perched on the edge of the canyon wall; we also found a number of walls off in the brush, indicating there was a well-populated site.
We explored several more sites during the course of the day and topped it off with a hike to an amazing petroglyph panel. The late afternoon sun was beginning to drop behind the canyon walls and it was time to head out. There are nearly 200 sites in this area and we have only begun to explore. We can’t wait to get out again and see what else we can find.