In the middle of nowhere is still so where, right? Over the last couple of years, I’ve been told multiple times that I needed to visit Chaco Canyon National Historic Park. In a suggestive manner, I had been told that it would blow my mind, be prepared to be wowed, etc. However, I would kind of dismissed the idea of visiting the park for a number of reasons such as I didn’t have the time or that I wanted to go visit something else. It was always on the back burner until late summer this year. I had made a goal earlier this year, that before the end of 2018 I wanted to have visited every National Monument or Historic Park that was in New Mexico (Capulin Volcano National Monument is the last one I need to visit). Like the waterfall goal, it was a very feasible task to accomplish.
On a random Monday in August, I called up my dad to see what he had going on for the upcoming weekend because I was planning on going to Chaco Canyon and wanted to see if he wanted to go. Luckily, he had never been, nor did he have anything going on. It was great timing. Long uneventful week story short, we woke up early, met at his home, got gas, etc. and went on our way.
From Albuquerque, we decided to go through the Grants, New Mexico route to get there. It was cool because we made a quick pitstop at the El Malpais National Monument as a side trip. I wanted to show my dad one of the best attractions for the entire monument which is the La Ventura Arch. To say the least, my pops was really blown away at the beauty of the arch. We did the short in and back trail that leads up to arch, took a couple of photos and went on our way.
On deciding to go the Grants route to get to Chaco Canyon, I figured it would be a cool opportunity to go in a big circle to make the most of the drive. Plus, it was an opportunity to see a region of New Mexico that I wasn’t at all familiar with. It was a great way for my dad and I to spend some quality time together. It wasn’t that long of a drive, but the roads are primarily dirt through this route.
When we arrived, we stopped at the park information center to pay the park fees. While at the information center, I spoke to one of the park rangers and briefly told him about trying to visit all of the National Monuments and Historic Parks in the Southwest Region of the United States and I only had a few New Mexico monuments left to visit. He told me that I should look into the National Parks pass if I had a minute. By buying the annual pass, I would get entry into every park and no longer have to pay any fees. It made some sense to make the purchase given the purpose of the blog and my hobby. Probably one of the smartest purchases I’ve made all year.
After the conversation, we went on our way to explore the historical park. Just right outside the information center is the ruins that are name Una Vida. Its a short 1 mile round trip and there are some awesome petroglyphs up on the hill close by. After Una Vida, I remember thinking “I hope this isn’t the only set of ruins”, I hadn’t done much research on Chaco Canyon before visiting the park and when returning to our the car, I realized that everyone was following the road after leaving the first set of ruins. We got to the car and we followed the direction everyone else was heading. Little did I know how colossal Chaco Canyon National Historical Park really is.