Monday, May 28, 2012

The Sky's the Limit - Acoma

Sunday, May 27th

     Woke up without no more smoke in my nostrils, blue skies, good visibility, and less wind.  Good choice in pulling over early yesterday.
     Left at 9 for the beginning of a really good day of seeing, listening, reflecting.
     The first thing I noticed was that the mountains all had flat-tops and I don't think it was because they were in keeping with the whole historic Route 66 theme.  It looked like someone had come out with their level and shaved everything even.
     How many times on this trip have I wished I could have been a fly in the sky - high enough to not be in danger but close enough to have seen everything in warp speed as our earth changed.  It's just amazing to me all the shapes, all the differences in formations and colors.  To see the mountains rise up, to see sand dunes turned into rock, to see rocks splitting off and tumbling down. To watch the power of water creating amazing shapes and canyons from seemingly impenetrable rock.  You may believe that God created the heavens and the earth but Mother Nature made it into something ever changing and always amazing.
    OK, enough of the reflecting part.
    I went to the Pueblo Village of Sky City of the Acoma people.  Driving to the Visitors Center I noticed how all the homes on this reservation looked exactly like the surrounding rock - they blended right in - Frank Lloyd Wright would have been pleased.  Originally I think they either made bricks out of the powdered rock or the rock itself but now they stucco their homes in that exact color.  Very impressive.  Of course there were a few trailers some opted for which spoils the ambiance for us tourists.
     I didn't see any businesses, any gardens, any cattle but did see a large food distribution center and a large housing authority building so unless everyone works for the large casino and hotel down the hill, it must be a lot of government subsidy.  But the land is so bad that we "gave" to the Indians, no wonder it's hard to make a living on it.
     Acoma means "a place that always was" and these people have lived in this area since the 13th century.  They've survived invasions from the Spanish, taken into slavery, plus surviving our own treatment to them.  But they are still a very proud people, very patriotic and very protective of their ways.
"Modern" Pueblo Architecture

Mission church

Mother selling her crafts
A "street" scene

Can you see what's used for mortar-straw & mud
Ladders into the kivas - through the roof

View from on top of the mesa
Home built into the rocks

Another mesa in the reservation
Modern conveyance up to their mesa home

Can you find Rhoda in the parking lot below?
     To go on this tour - up on the top of a mesa, we had to not only buy a ticket but buy permission to take pictures and even then we couldn't take pictures of the people without permission, no pictures in the mission or of the cemetery, no cell phones or cell phone pictures, no videos, no tripods.  And when our tour guide was talking, if anyone else talked, they'd be asked to leave immediately.  But it was very interesting to hear of their history and culture and what life is like for them today.  Time very well spent.
     With no intentions on more sight-seeing today, I was drawn off the highway onto 117 S to see what National Monument El Malpais (bad land) was all about.  Again very interesting rock formations but what made it a National Monument was to protect the lava beds from thousands of years ago.  I drove into the Monument for about 25 miles and then came back as I didn't want to end up that far south.

Some of these lava beds looked like giant cow plops for those of you who've seen such:)

Second largest natural arch in NM

    Got to thinking about why I like rock formations so much??  Don't know why I feel the need to take pictures of them all but. . . just try and stop me.  BUT you don't have to look at them all but I bet you do - caught you looking.
     Anyway, to end the day, I again drove 16 miles off the highway to get to Blue Lake State Park before I cut my loses and turned around when the road turned to dirt and I had another 8 miles to go.
Drove another 30 miles to just east of Gallup, NM to Red Rock State Park and you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see pictures of that because it was heavy into sun-setting shadows by the time I got there.


mileage:  214                     gas:  $57  @$3.64                     camp:  $20
Acoma pueblo:  $17
weather:  breezy, cool (70s) 

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