We woke up on January 1st, 2018, ready to start fresh. I talked with my partner Elena (will refer to her as Blanca, Blanc) about an idea I had to travel the world and document various sites. I didn’t know how or where I’d start, but I had hope. She came in with clutch advice. Start locally. Haha, what an obvious concept, but I had clearly missed it. Her background and discipline are in business administration. On the other hand, I have ambitions and dreams, but I can’t see the steps, sometimes only the finished product. So I told her we would get started exploring at the beginning of the new year. We loaded up the Fj (I’m soo happy I have my dream truck…another story), got gas, and hit the I-17. Blanc was curious as to where we were going, but I told her it was a surprise. Lol, in all honesty, I didn’t know where we were going… I’M NOT A PLANNER! I had looked up a few National Monuments on google and wanted to check one out but was unsure. Anyway, we made it to Flagstaff, and I pulled into a gas station. I found the directions to anything close, and Walnut Canyon came up. We showed up, and I think it was my first time visiting a National Monument to my knowledge.
Now I have had an interest in cliff dwellings, especially with our view of the “primitive natives.” I was disappointed that I assumed I needed to go to Colorado to see Mesa Verde or something first. This trip opened my eyes up for sure. We paid the admission and began to make our way through the glass doors. Panic immediately set in. Maybe it’s because it was the first day of a 3 day fast to start my New Year spiritually right, or because I’m terrified of heights. I was in an embarrassing amount of panic. Blanc tried to calm me down, but I felt like the area was trying to pull me in. I wasn’t ready to die.
I told her I was going to stay there and let her explore instead. She kinda laughed, but after a while, she convinced me, and I made my descent. It was so beautiful, no lie! I was still panicking, but a sense of awe began to set in. The whole mountain area was full of cliff dwellings. I had assumed it was one section. I was wrong—layers on top of layers of identical dwellings. The first thought that came to my mind was how? I have a background in construction. When I was 19, I dropped out of college, majoring in early childhood education. Now I’m no master builder, but I worked hard and learned from on the job training and shadowing city inspectors daily. One thought that popped into my head was, are these an early form of track homes?
(I knew I needed to compare a few other sites before coming to a conclusion.) I began to think they couldn’t have just arrived and started building, was there a master blueprint? Did they start from the top or bottom? How did they find this place? There are theories, but to me, some are shallow and are contradictory. It is possible water did erode the cliffs at this location but all the levels in almost perfect rows? I decided I found a good project to begin researching—Cliff dwellings of American Natives. Like the natives, I had almost divinely been led to the right spot for some reason on that day. I decided I would start a new project. I would document, compare, and research various sites across the American Southwest. We continued to hike around the canyon and take in the magnitude of the structures. I was still petrified, unfortunately, so I walked as briskly as I could.
It really was surreal to be in the area that they lived in like that. I was even more convinced that our view of the natives was incorrect. We made our way back up to the shop area, and I decided I would want to get a passport book to stamp all the sites I traveled to.
I would also suggest doing that it’s a fun way to document your trips to the National Monuments. Also, get the park pass if you do it saves you money in the long run, and it allows guests to get in for free with you. I found some cool patches to begin my collection on the Fj ceiling from places I traveled.We drove to downtown Flag, walked around, checked out local shops, then we hit the road. All in all, it was a great day. It really was the perfect trip to start out the exploration aspects of Quest for Knowledge. If the superstition has any credence, we should be in for a good year! Until next time, so long.
Copyright 2018. Quest for Knowledge