Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice 2010, Part Five

Parts one, two, three, and four.

The mid-sized Ancestral Puebloan site sitting up on that €œerosional layer of lower strata € (love that phrase) of Crossfire’s east cliffs is one of my favorites because of the serene view it offers down-canyon.   From what I’ve seen of that portion of Crossfire, including about a mile or so of what lies below the €œNo Drive Zone, € the farther south the canyon runs the wider it opens out and the higher the cliffs soar above its floor.   This Pueblo II-Pueblo III site’s impressive field of view takes in several of the canyon’s other ruins, including the first site across canyon that the archaeologist and I visited and, possibly, the tower. An ATV trail, badly eroded now as its illegality has come clear and nobody wants to risk keeping it up, crosses this site and runs onto the mesa east of Crossfire.   Sometimes I climb just above the ruin and sit on a flat rock jutting from the canyon wall out of which the trail was carved.   It’s nice up there, the size of the place intimates itself more deeply, and I feel the canyon’s inclusiveness fold me in. Continue reading “Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice 2010, Part Five”


Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice, Part Three

Part One here.   Part Two here.

The rain that earlier diluted a few thoughts in my journal failed to commit, but the overcast thickened. Light making it through the clouds fell flatly. Trees in the juniper forest through which we walked cast no shade that could be distinguished from cloud shadow. Below us on the creek’s banks, Fremont cottonwoods had lost most of their heart-shaped scales to autumn winds. Remaining leaves flapped on their stems, working free from the trees’ upper stories, winging back to their roots.   With the loss of the cottonwoods’ stands of verdure and the stalks of most of the other plants gone to straw, Crossfire’s green flames burned very low, deep inside the trees and in the ashes of the canyon’s seed-time. €œGrey € was the word for the day. I guessed temperatures were hovering around 38 degrees, but high humidity accompanying the storm front whetted the chill.   The archaeologist is a light, slim man.   He wore no gloves and not much of a coat.   He remarked that he felt cold. Continue reading “Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice, Part Three”

Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice 2010, Part Two

Part One below on the “Home” page or click here.

As the archaeologist and I pushed uphill through sage and rabbit brush, he stopped to explain, quite diplomatically and in precise language, that he was in the canyon doing work pursuant to the BLM’s weighing a county government proposal to establish an ATV right-of-way through Crossfire, length to be determined.   Having lately become one of the canyon’s resident creatures, I found this information intriguing. Continue reading “Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice 2010, Part Two”

WIZ’s late summer/early fall gallery

We’ve added new pictures to the revolving gallery, not many because we spent much of the summer working at surviving rather than traipsing about the backrocks looking for photo ops.   You’ll recognize a few favorites we left up: the aspens in Kane Gulch, scarlet gilia, the boot and hoof prints, etc.  

Here’s a list of the new pics.

One of ten Elberta peaches our sapling trees produced this year–their first crop.

Tha Hurd: these are the horses I’ve been writing about in my “Horse opera” posts, minus the palomino gelding.   Left to right: the rear end of the palomino foal, its mother (I thought she was a palomino, but now I think she might be a bay with a flaxen mane), the silver dun (note her cool dorsal stripe), and the yellow dun stallion.   In the foreground, my daughter Val and her ponytail.

Pepis wasp–also called a tarantula hawk–on horsetail milkweed (also there’s an ant).   We had a stand of this erupt in the yard this summer.   It’s considered an invasive species and is also toxic to stock, but we have no stock.   The variety of insects the milkweed drew into the yard astounded and delighted us.   I think it valuable for how many species it supports.   Tarantula wasps up to two inches long flew  in, following  scent trails of the milkweed’s pollen.   Our European paper wasps visited the milkweed, along with golden digger wasps, mud daubers, American paper wasps, and a host of others we have yet to identify.    

A butterfly–species unknown–and a wasp or hornet–species also unknown–on the milkweed.

Grizzly bear prickly pear fruit.   These turned even redder before dropping off the pads.  

Masonry walls in a side canyon emptying into Crossfire Canyon.   These walls and structures  whose photos we’ve added  date back to later stages of the prehistoric Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) occupation of southeastern Utah and other Four Corners states.  

An Ancestral Puebloan  structure tucked into  a narrow alcove in the same side-canyon.    

A detail of the double lintel beam in the above structure.   I thought it was interesting as well as pleasing to the eye.

Masonry structure from another angle with interesting shadow and light play around it.

A masonry doorway into another structure in the side canyon.   I love this doorway–it looks like it leads into deeper mystery.   Or maybe into Shelob’s lair.

An upright lizard, a fence swift.   These lizards seem to like having their pictures taken.   Other lizards won’t stand for it.   What I really want is a picture of a collared lizard or a Colorado collared lizard.   Very flashy, and they will also smile for the camera.

Close-up  of a horse skull that I found, part of a nearly  complete skeleton.

A detail of the above horse’s cervical (neck) bones, still mostly articulated.   I find this picture fascinating.

Fuzzy stuff–not entirely sure what it is.   Old man’s beard, maybe?

As usual, profound thanks to son Saul for taking all these pictures.