I’m looking forward to being your instructor and guide for the Ghost Ranch Chacoan World Excursion Road Trip. I’ve been an archaeologist and teacher in the Southwest for over 25 years, which includes my work as District Archaeologist on the Santa Fe National Forest. During that time the Chief of the US Forest Service presented me and the Coyote Ranger District the National Windows on the Past Award for exceptional public interpretation of archaeology.
The day of arrival, Tuesday October 8 dinner is from 5:30-6:30 pm. Check-in time is after 3:00 pm. You can find information about the Ghost Ranch shuttle from Santa Fe to the Ranch by calling Evelyn at 505-685-1000 x 4155. When you arrive, please check in the Welcome Center and learn where our first meeting will be located. Dinner is served from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm and breakfast from 7:30 am to 8:30 am. Lunch is from Noon to 1:00 pm.
After dinner we meet for orientation, at 6:45 pm. The next day, Wednesday, we spend at the Ranch with discussion and lecture in the morning and the afternoon free. This could include visiting the museums or hiking or going on one of the Ghost Ranch tours. There is a charge for the tours. You will need to register for them through the Welcome Center by calling 505.685.1000. Tuesday evening we meet again for a lecture.
On Thursday October 10 we have an early departure from Ghost Ranch for Chaco Canyon where we will spend the day, then on to our hotel in Farmington, NM, the Hampton Inn.
On Friday we visit Aztec National Monument, a Chacoan Great House, then drive through the Southern Ute Reservation to Chimney Rock National Monument, an internally renowned ancient astronomical observatory (Chacoan). After our picnic lunch we tour the observatory, and return to the Ranch by about 4:30pm for dinner and a final farewell.
The last morning, Saturday Oct 12, breakfast is at the ranch (7:30-8:30), and checkout is by 10 am.
Here are some things to bring: good hiking shoes or boots, water containers (be prepared to carry at least 2 quarts), a small daypack, a good hat and sunscreen, clothes for warm and cool weather, and rain gear. Rain gear is important in the high desert where the weather is variable in fall. It will be cool at night so be sure to bring a warm jacket and sweater.
Please bring your Senior Passes to the National Parks. And binoculars. They will be useful. And, if you like, a bathing suit— there is a pool at the hotel.
I mention rain gear, which brings to mind an aspect of the trip everyone should be aware of. Chaco (not the other places we visit) is inaccessible in very bad rainstorms. This doesn’t happen often — about once every four years. But please be aware of this. If this happens, I will have a good alternative for us.
Also, there will be limited space for luggage in the van. It is an overnight trip so you will need to bring a bag for overnight bag and leave your larger luggage in your rooms while we are away. Dinner on the road is not covered by the ranch.
My three favorite books about the Southwest are: Prehistoric Astronomy in the Southwest (Kim Malville), Indian Givers (Jack Weatherford) and The Secret Knowledge of Water (Craig Childs). The first has chapters on Chaco, Chimney Rock, Hovenweep, and Mesa Verde. The second is the story of food: 85% of the world’s foods originated in pre-Spanish South and Meso-America and then spread around the world by the Spanish armada (including chile peppers, the tomato, the potato, the pineapple and it goes on and on). The third describes how swiftly conditions change in the Southwest — from drought to flood.
I have a longer bibliography just in case it is useful to you. But please, don’t feel you have to read before you come. I will be going into the background, history, and Archaeoastronomy and giving you a handout as well. The day after you arrive you have the chance to use the Ghost Ranch library with its superb collection on the Southwest.
If you have any questions, feel free to call or email me. I’m looking forward to our trip through Chaco country, and to meeting you soon —
With Best Wishes,
You have the option to stay at Ghost Ranch before the class begins as part of a package. Sunday-Monday October 6-7. The class begins on Tuesday October 8.
Please contact Stephen Picha (email@example.com) for more information.
TUESDAY OCTOBER 8
3:00 pm (or later): Check In
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Dinner
6:45 pm: Orientation
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 9
At Ghost Ranch
7:30 am-8:30 am: Breakfast
8:45 am-Noon: Background Presentations
Noon-1:00 pm: Lunch
Afternoon: Free to explore the Ranch
5:30 pm-6:30 pm: Dinner
6:45 pm: Presentation
THURSDAY OCTOBER 10
On the Road
7:00 am: Load vans
7:30 am-8:30 am: Breakfast
7:45 am: Depart Ghost Ranch for Chaco Canyon
10:15 am: At Chaco Canyon National Historical Park
5:30 pm: Arrival and Check-in at Hampton Inn, Farmington
6:45 pm: Dinner at Three Rivers Brewery
FRIDAY OCTOBER 11
On the Road
7:15 am: Load vans
7:30 am: Depart Hotel for Aztec National Monument,
Chaco Great House
9:30 am: Depart Aztec for Chimney Rock National Monument ancient astronomical observatory
11:00 am: Picnic lunch at Chimney Rock
Noon-2:00 pm: Tour of Chimney Rock
2:00 pm: Depart Chimney Rock for Ghost Ranch
5:30 pm-6:30 pm: Dinner at the Ranch
6:45 pm: Closing discussion and farewell
SATURDAY OCTOBER 12
7:30-8:30 am: Breakfast
10:00 am: Check out