Archive for the 'History' Category


Casa Rinconada Village

Casa Rinconada can be found on the south side of Chaco Canyon, mere yards or meters off the park main road.  It consists of a main house, several smaller village houses and and a large kiva.


My first impression of the kiva at Casa Rinconada took me to ancient Rome.  It has two entryways, one at the north end and one at the south end, with stairways descending into a circular pit.


So my first impression when I looked at this building was; two men enter, one man leaves.  I could have sworn, at first impression, I was looking at thunderdome, or an amphitheater where gladiators would be bashing each other into oblivion.  An impression that changed when I learned this structure had a roof over it.  The roof just doesn’t fit into my sense of an open combat ring, with bloodthirsty spectators cheering on as two men battle each other to the death.


Instead of a place where gladiators battled each other to the death, the place has a religious purpose known to the Ancient Pueblo people and, perhaps, kept secret by the modern-day Navajo people.


Campsite #5


Campsite #5 located in very sunny, very hot, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.  I originally decided not to go to Chaco Culture National Historic Park, because the road in looked beat.  Well, let me tell you.  The first 18 miles are like any other county highway anywhere in the US.  Parts are paved and very easy to drive, other parts are gravel and well maintained, but the last four miles.  Not so good.  The graveled surface tends to wash away in rainstorms leaving a very rutted and very rough last four miles into the Chaco Culture National Historic Park.  Including this lovely crossing.


I had already decided I needed to schedule a psychiatric evaluation before I reached this part of the road, especially when I realized, if it rains, I might not be able to get out of here.  This is called a wash.  We don’t have such things in Wisconsin and until now I didn’t fully appreciate what Louis L’Amour was writing about in his romantic western stories.


Washes are like a dry riverbed, except they only flow during severe weather.  So during heavy rainstorms all the water in these canyons empties into washes and you get flash flooding.  During a heavy rainstorm this dried up wash would look like a river and I’m guessing would look like a raging river.  After this section of rough road there is a hill to climb and a hill to descend on a very rough and very rutted road.

One of the first sites you’ll see as you near Chaco Culture National Historic Park will be Fajada Butte.


I’ve never been to a desert before and I’ve got to say, this place is stunning in beauty.  The campground is nestled in the canyon and as you can see from the first picture close to the canyon’s south wall, which gives you the only shade you’ll get in Chaco Canyon and that isn’t until evenings.  So prepare yourself if you visit.  You will be in sunlight all day.


Chaco Culture National Historic Park is filled with ruins from Ancient Pueblo people.  Maintained by the Navajo People, this place is not a playground, but a living museum and should be treated as such.  Bicycles are allowed on most trails, but when you get to the ruins there is a bike rack provided for parking.


Wijiji is the easiest hike, a round trip of about three miles or five kilometers over level terrain.  I walked up on it without even realizing I had made it to the house.  Mostly because I was busy looking for elk.  All the way to this site I could see elk foot prints.  Apparently, the elk spend the nights around the walls of the canyons and in the morning drop into the canyon’s washes.


There will be more to follow as I learn and explore this beautiful park.



Before any European set foot in the Americas, several cultures thrived throughout North and South America.  Many are familiar with the Inca and Aztec cultures, but few people realize a culture thrived in North America and had achieved the size of an empire in Europe.  The Mississippian culture located in the central and eastern portions of the United States, dominated the big rivers like the Mississippi, the Ohio, the Illinois and the Wisconsin to name a few.  This culture had at its center a very large city called Cahokia.  At its peak Cahokia had more than thirty thousand inhabitants.  What makes them unique in the American experience is the same thing that makes the Egyptians, the Incas, the Aztecs and other civilizations around the world unique.  They built pyramids.


This sign greets visitors to Cahokia as they leave the parking lot and head to the Cahokia Interpretive Center.


Here is an artist’s historically accurate rendition of what Cahokia looked like.


The focal point of Cahokia is and was this large mound now called Monk’s mound.  It is called monk’s mound because of French trapper monks who inhabited it in the 1700s.  Cahokia thrived from about 700 AD until about 1300 AD when the site was abandoned.  Why it was abandoned remains an archeological mystery, so by the time the French inhabited this place it was empty.


Many of Cahokia’s other mounds are visible from on top of Monk’s Mound, as well as St Louis, Missouri.


There Will be Change

I took a vacation in July of 2012.  It wasn’t a very good one.  I had gone into northern Wisconsin seeking elk photos and ended up with only one good set.  I returned home, mosquito bitten, sunburned, tired, and crabby.  While I was on vacation my coworkers were informed by corporate headquarters we would be closing April, 2014.  When my coworkers informed me that I would be losing my job, my mood instantly improved.

Allow me to explain.  I work as a lab technician in a microbiology facility.  We make medical diagnostic devices for microbiological testing.  Stuff that’s used to determine what is making someone sick.  Microbiology is basically trying to see little tiny stuff.  For those few here who know me, you know I have a degree in History.  I graduated from North Carolina State University, Magna Cum Laude, in 1998.  To say the last thirteen years spent working as a microbiology lab technician have been fulfilling would be an outrageous misrepresentation of reality and a statement so devoid of truth—it would make Herr Adolf Putin envious. 

In the United States in order to get a high school diploma students have to pass a set of science classes, which usually includes Biology.  During my high school years I found a way to get my diploma without taking Biology.  I managed to graduate from high school without ever having to peer through a goddamn microscope.  I took an outdoor earth science class, and since this blog features mostly outdoor photography you can get a sense of how that class actually contributed to my fulfillment as a free empowered citizen of God”s green earth.

During my time at the various universities I’ve attended, I also managed to get my degree in History without setting foot in a Biology class.  I actually got my degree without ever taking a class that involved a science lab.  The course I took to fulfill that science credit involved, again, outdoor activities.  I ended up with this lab rat position because I needed a night job so that I could pursue my daytime activities—such as photography, which, of course, many of you who have taken photos know you can get better photos during daylight hours as opposed to taking photos in the dark.

What does this all mean for my future?  And the future of this blog?  My future is, obviously, a bit uncertain now.  Eventually, I will have to find another job.  I have absolutely no intention of accepting a position anywhere in the microbiology field ever again. 

The future of this blog will be determined by my ability to post.  Last summer, I bought a new truck and a new camper.  When this job ends on April 4th, I will be moving out of my apartment, and on May 1st, the countdown date, I will be leaving.  Where?  Hopefully the where will make you glad you’ve stayed.  One of the things all people are recommended to have on their to do list; whether they be American, European, Australian or elsewhere, is to see the western part of the United States, which is where we are going.  For anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months—maybe six—I will be traveling to places like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone and, hopefully, I will be able to share this adventure with you on this blog.


Munich 1938 vs. Paris 2014 “Peace in our Time

1938 Munich: It was Mussolini’s idea that they should meet and so Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier, and Mussolini met in Munich and determined the fate of the Czechoslovakian region Sudetenland.  No one from Czechoslovakia was present at the meeting.  The claim by Hitler was that ethnic Germans in the region were under threat from the Czech people and that Germany needed to annex the region in order to protect them.  No one seemed to notice that the most important part of Czechoslovakia’s defense network against Germany was in the Sudetenland.  The Munich conference ended with Germany being allowed to annex the Sudetenland and Hitler concluding that the West was weak.  Poland was next and millions of people died in the war (WWII) that followed.

Today: Paris, France: Russia and the United States met to determine the fate of Crimea.  A region Putin claims is filled with ethnic Russians who are under threat from the new government in Kiev, Ukraine.  While these two nations grapple with what needs to be done, it seems strange to me that no one from Ukraine was present at this meeting.

Before another shameful chapter in world history is written, the conference in Paris, France needs to immediately cease until the Ukrainians are included in discussions about the future of their country.


Facebook Post

A friend asked me my “thoughts about present day Eastern Europe?”

Below is my answer in regards to recent events in Ukraine. 


It’s an extension of Putin’s policy of retaking lost Soviet territory as he did with Georgia 2008 when he helped break a pair of small states away from Georgia. The West’s reaction was the same as Chamberlain’s reaction to Hitler and it was "Peace in our Time." Now here we are a few years later and Putin has marched his army into "the Rhineland" I mean Crimea. We are living in a new era of appeasement and the EU refuses to accept that their lack of aggressive action against the Russians is growing more and more dangerous, and Putin is growing more and more aggressive. We need to return to Cold War policies and accept that the Russians just refuse to accept any other nation’s right to exist. Unfortunately for the US it means we will, as during Cold War I, assume leadership in the counter-force required to make the Russians understand that the economic impact on Russia is far worse than the gain of conquered territory. I know America is tired of war, but it’s time to accept that our old adversary (the Soviet Union) has been resting and recuperating and now feels it is in a powerful enough position to retake the former Soviet Republics and to do so they are playing the oldest game in international politics–a game taught to the world by the Roman Empire–divide and conquer.

August 2020

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 281 other followers