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No worse for the wear on the drive back to Chaco Canyon, after setting up camp, we decided to take the Park loop drive to get a feel for what was there & plan how to spend our visit.  We stopped & walked a few sites on the loop, including this giant kiva, the largest in the Park, at the Casa Rinconada site.

IMG_1019It was a pretty afternoon to be touring the Park which, if you’re interested in Southwestern antiquities, is fascinating.  Looking at the ruins, it’s neat to see how well they blend in with the surroundings.  Frank Lloyd Wright had nothing on these builders of 1000 years ago.

Because the Park is so far off the beaten path, and because you have to take the beaten path to get there, there aren’t crowds at Chaco.  That was guaranteed to make us happy!  It is great to tour the ruins & not be stepped on, crowded off paths, or run over by unruly kids… & not be rushed either!

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After touring the Park for a little while – & seeing the Park’s elk herd – we came back to the CG & enjoyed a simple supper & waited for dark before heading to the Visitor’s Center for the Night Skies program which is held on weekends if there isn’t a full moon.  (Chaco Canyon is an official federal Dark Skies park.)

The Park has an observatory & other people bring telescopes too.  A Park Ranger gives an informative presentation before heading outside to let our eyes dark-adapt so that we could view a sky with very little light pollution & millions of stars. We were blessed to have a cloudless night & moderate temperatures & got to do some viewing from the observatory telescope as well.

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While we took advantage of the Night Skies program that evening, during the day we took advantage of the sun.  We had bought a Renogy solar panel to keep our battery charged while at Chaco Canyon so Matthew set it up & we were quite pleased with its performance.  We hope to use it to boondock with the Sunline.  Chaco Canyon was our first time dry-camping & it was not problem at all.  More from Chaco in the next entry.

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