One of the reasons I stayed at Chaco Canyon for a fairly long time was to visit some of the sites that I had not visited on previous visits. (Also, I just wanted to take my time and enjoy the whole experience.)
One of the sites I’d never bothered visiting was Una Vida, so I went there on the morning of August 16.
Una Vida is right behind (well, about ½ a mile from) the Chaco Visitor’s Center, so I hadn’t bothered with it before. This time I made the effort, and it was just as good as all the other sites.
Here’s a portion of the official map that shows where it is.
It backs up to a cliff wall (as so many of the other Chaco sites do). It also (as you can glean from the map) offers yet another view of Fajada Butte.
[As always, click on the picture for the full-size view.]
I really rather like this picture. You can (obviously) see one of the walls in the foreground. Then there are other walls (buried to a large extent) farther back, then you can see the Visitor’s Center in the middle left, and then Fajada Butte rises in the rear.
Una Vida (Spanish for “One Life”; I don’t know why that name was given to it) is one of the older sites at Chaco. It was built around the year 800 A.D.. They can tell from the style of stone-laying; it got more “sophisticated” as time went on. It had not been excavated so you can see how a lot of it is still buried.
It’s buried because, over 1200 years, the wind has blown sands over the whole area and much of the buildings are under it. This is both good and bad. The bad is that we don’t see what’s under it all. But the good (and it’s really pretty good) is that all the sand helps preserves the old walls from the elements.
By the way, that picture was taken about halfway up the cliff face (where it’s not very steep yet, and is mostly fallen rock debris from higher up).
If you continue higher up to near the top of the cliff, there are petroglyphs. Here they are.
And what would petroglyphs be without showing me near them?
On my way back down, I took a picture looking back where I’d been. If you look for that curved rock face, you should recognize it as the rock that contained the petroglyphs.
That was my morning saunter. Afterwards, during the heat of the day, I spent time under the shade at my campsite.
Then later, I headed out to re-hike the South Mesa trail, which I’ll blog about next time.