Monday, September 27, 2010

Anasazi help for the Azteca!

Ladders to the Alcove House
You never know when a past experience will come to your aid in the future. I remember some years how amazing it was to see the Anasazi villages in Chaco Canyon and Bandelier National Monument. The ancient ones, ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians, that left their mark in the dwellings, pottery and rock art across New Mexico and the Southwest.

It's easy to lose yourself in time, walking in the footsteps of those who were here before and imagining what life would be like living  in a circular village on the flats or a cliff dwelling built into the volcanic hillsides. Or entering spiritual life inside a Kiva and hearing music from flute and drums. Seems so enchanting but distant from modern American life.

One of the treats at Bandelier National Monument is to climb 140 feet of ladders up to the Alcove House. The ladders end and you find yourself  on a ledge eroded into the mountain with some house ruins and a restored Kiva. The view across the valley and circular village is lovely  and, notably, very inaccessible except from the  ladders. In order to protect themselves the Anasazi could climb up the ladders, then pull the ladders up after them and no one could follow them to the house.

Putting such romantic ideas aside and getting back to daily life ...

 A few weeks ago I was looking up at the Azteca Marquee and was shocked to see the letter "T" missing from the AZTECA sign. As I  looked closer I realized the "T" was hanging out perpendicular to the wall. How could that happen? Were those pigeons making a balcony?  Pesky critters. Looked like I'd have to investigate.

Using the Anasazi security  technique to fix the sign
No matter, better correct it before it completely fell off. I scrounged up some  various size metal screws and hand tools and considered the logistics. I need to get myself  about 25 feet above the ground to upright the letter and reattach it to the wall. But I only had about 16-feet of ladder.

This would take some figuring. After considering hanging from ropes or getting a longer ladder, there was just one way. Inspired by the Anasazi!

I leaned the step ladder against the marquee and climbed up from m the sidewalk. 
Once there I hauled the ladder up with me on the marquee.  Just like the Anasazi, with ladder up and no one can reach me. Except the pesky pigeons!

There have been several times I have stepped off the top step of a ladder to do repairs and wondered if the street hooligans might steal it and trap me up there. But not this time!

I lay the ladder up against the sign and climbed up to fix the sign to the wall.
If  I were more romantic I could report that I could hear the frustrated Apache people below, as I scampered up the ladder, but it was really antic-climactic to do the repair without further incidence.

My  trash can was open by the street and did a little cleanup around the marquee.  I took some 20-foot jump shots with trash and pigeon litter. Made some of them too :)

A few years ago I accidentally dropped pile of  pigeon dung on a the shoulder of a passing street addict who was not paying attention to the fact that he walked under a ladder with a trash can.  He was not very happy but he forgot about it right away. I thought he might bump my ladder.
I wondered if the Anasazi threw trash down on to their enemies.
More likely big rocks to avoid repercussions!

I lowered the ladder off the marquee, hoping  I would not hit a passerby below or knock a bicyclist of his stead. No such circumstance and all went well.

Another  repair completed at the Azteca.    Thanks to inspiration from the Anasazi!


The Anasazi were located in the Four Corners region of the U.S.
( Northern New Mexico west of the Pecos River, southwestern Colorado, southern Utah, and northern Arizona south to the Little Colorado River).

They are thought to be the ancestors of modern Indian tribes like the Hopi, the Zuni and the Pueblo.
The earliest Anasazi probably settled in the plateau area because water was more available, which may also be why they disappeared when water was less available.

They disappeared about 800 years ago, long before the first europeans discovered their ruins in 1849.

Circular village in Bandelier National Monument

Alcove House Kiva, Bandelier National Monument

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. It reminded me of our stop at Mesa Verde in Colorado on one of our Ouray Trips. I know part of the reason they put some of them where they were. It was hot, and in the dwellings it was noticeably cooler. At that time they were still finding more dwellings. A forest fire had just uncovered some that they had no idea were there.