Houston Institute for Culture
Airel's Journal

7/27/09 - Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon

Dear Reader,

As I'm writing, we're going to Colorado to go camping and see about the native people and learn about their lifestyle. Well, we just arrived at Pueblo Bonito (in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico) where the Chacoans lived in "great houses" located in Chaco Canyon. I learned that they were hard working people, surviving in the desert.

Another thing I learned is that they were civilized as today, creating ways to make their village a good place to live. We climbed the Chaco Mountain (canyon sides) to see the structure of their village. And to see how the region where they lived was in a place with colored rocks. The weather was extremely hot. But as we climbed to the (mesa) top we were feeling the winds coming our way. Afterwards we looked and took pictures of the pretty barren location of the majestic mountains, appreciating the things we had watched and learned of the native people called Chacoans - of their lifestyle beyond our years and our ancestors.

As we went down I saw the rectangular squared windows and how they had wood to separate the floors, kind of like the two story houses today. Well for now I say goodbye, starring at the great outdoors of the nature around our campsite located in Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado).

7/28/09 - Mesa Verde National Park

Dear Reader,

I hope you know your geography so you can understand the places where I've been. For instance, we first went to Balcony House in Mesa Verde National Park. It's close to the museum, but to visit you need to be on a (ranger-led) tour. The incredible way to get there was by hiking and climbing long ladders. It involved mostly climbing. During Balcony House I learned that people got married at a young age - as young as me at 13 years old. Which reminds me, I got married to a guy, had children and cooked in the Balcony House today.

We watched a movie about the Ancient Puebloans of Mesa Verde in the museum. After that we went to Petroglyph Point. The whole trail was about 2.5 miles, or about 2 hours long. It was mostly a forest with big views of the mountains around it. We saw the different types of (native) plants, learning a little bit of information about each one. The other things we saw were petroglyphs that they had drawn - meaningful symbols or a way of communication - pointing towards something. For example: food or water.

So after the whole experience we went to the museum to see the artifacts that (the archaeologists) found in the places around the historic houses. It was interesting, but it only lasted for like five minutes. They said we were going back (to the ruins) to finish the adventure that we had begun. Anyway, we left, ate lunch and went back to the park.

Next we went to Cliff Palace where we had to climb short ladders to go to the designated place of the building structures (for a tour). At Cliff Palace I learned that people advanced their ways of living by a lot. At that time it started to rain but we still continued on our adventure (sheltered under the cliff). We learned that there were 150 rooms with 75-125 people living in only 17 percent of the rooms, or 25 rooms. The rest were for storing food. The whole design of the buildings includes rooms where people stayed in their houses, kivas and courtyards.

At night we saw a slideshow that showed the activities of the native people. For example, some tribes used dog hair to make belts and corn was a genetic thing because they mixed seeds and did different things to create it. The corn was the start of civilization towards our way of life in the present of advanced technology. I learned that they used the yucca plant fibers to create blankets and carpets.

At last, we went to bed with our bellies full, so I guess this is our adventure. I hope that you have been enjoying it as much as I have. Well, Goodnight! LOL! OMG! Awesome! XOXO

7/29/09 - Rocky Mountains

Dear Reader,

Today we are going to the Rocky Mountains to take some pictures of the trees in nature. It rained today a lot and even got to the point where it hailed hard. We stopped at a few villages, exploring what they had of interest. In one village we bought peaches that were expensive but they were very sweet and organic. And in another we played soccer and my team lost. But since I have good sportsmanship I thought it could teach me that not always winning is the prize. But how you handle the situation if youíre the loser makes you the winner of the game. While in another village we took pictures of the mountains, streams, pond and the forest around us. But we mostly were in the car not doing much compared to being active in mountain climbing. I guess you have read this so I might as well say aurevoir!!

7/30/09 - Wetherill Mesa, Mesa Verde

Dear Reader,

If you love and care about nature then today is your day, because we have been to amazing places, learning of the native peoplesí ancestors living in the high dessert of the mountains.

So, today it started raining again but that did not stop us from learning. Okay, we first went to Wetherill Mesa in a tram. Once there we saw the nature of a fire (that occurred) 4 years ago, but it looks as if it happened recently. Anyway, when the vehicle stopped there were short paths you could follow to see the structure of the buildings the native people built. We took several pictures of the whole trip although it was pretty short because we stopped and walked through the time zone of their buildings getting more advanced as years passed. The interesting part was where there was a tunnel 40 feet underground from a house to a kiva. After the walk, we ate lunch and left to Spruce Tree House and the museum to see what we had missed (in our previous visit).

As we got to Spruce Tree House we saw the buildings closer and we even went inside a kiva. It was pretty hard to breathe (inside the kiva) because there was a lot of dirt in the air. That is one reason the native people died young. After the whole experience we went (back to camp), stopping a few times to take pictures of nature. At last we arrived at camp to find out that it started to rain. So I might as well say good bye to help the others fix the tent because rain is getting in.

7/31/09 - Rio Grande

Dear Reader,

Today we are leaving, going towards home (Houston), but we made a stop at some places to take pictures of the nature we were leaving behind, which had been our comfort zone. A few hours later we stopped at a bridge where the Rio Grande passed through (a deep canyon). It was very windy and it was blowing hard - you thought you could be blown away. We got creative and said that we could parachute and land perfectly on the ground. Or we could use gliders to glide on the different (currents) of the winds. So, then after the whole little superman effect we went back to the car. It had started to sprinkle but it didn't beat the coldness of the winds outside the car. Then, we went to a hotel and ate some pizza and talked about what we had learned during the whole experience. For example: the way ancient people used the plants. Or how the yucca plant was used to make sandals, blankets and food. After the whole thing we went to bed, which is where Iím writing my journal from at this exact moment. So, this is good bye for now! BYE!


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