We launched our kayak at Texas Hole just before the Navajo Dam. The pristine water of the San Juan River makes it one of the best places for fly-fishing trout. This area is catch and release so the trout are plentiful and huge. We were searching for calm water for our next trip with our cat, Lyra. She surely will love looking at all the fish swimming around.
As we launched our Jackson Riviera Tandem kayak near the many houseboats, we were in awe of the many unique boats that live on the lake. We paddled around the houseboats for the most part so we wouldn’t get drenched by wake waves. The Navajo Lake is a beautiful place set in NW New Mexico and it stretches into Colorado. This was our second paddle on the lake and it is quickly becoming our favorite place to go on a weekend afternoon.
After a couple of hours on the water, we loaded up to explore the land around the lake. Leaving the marina, we crossed the dam road and took the first left. This road will eventually lead to HWY 527. Taking several off shute trails we discovered the Frances Canyon Ruins (Navajo pueblito) built in the late 1600's. Pueblitos are built on mesa rims, outcrops, and boulders for defensive purposes. They are usually a small site with a tower. They are only found in New Mexico. The Frances Canyon ruin is one of the best preserved examples of a pueblito. It sits on the mesa rim and has a multi-level tower. We are always so excited to discover such places on our adventures.
With excitement of finding the pueblito, we decided to go to Chaco Cultural National Historical Park in Chaco Canyon near Nageezi New Mexico. Getting to the park is not easy. When we turned off HWY 550 to cut across the desert, the road was pretty rough, however, the park road is paved. Most of ruins are located just off the park road. We took a short, steep hike up to the top of a mesa. Our legs hurt for days after that climb. There are miles of trails that lead to more ruins. If we had time, we would have made the trek to see them. The ones we did see were quite impressive. This was the largest concentrated area of pueblo. The population was in the thousands between 850 and 1250 AD. Unlike other sites, this was built in the middle of the canyon not in the cliffs. This is a Gold-tier level International Dark Sky Park. From May through September the park offers Evening Night Sky programs on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. We hope to make another trip to Chaco for one of these presentations.
Bonita Trail to Kin Klesto Overview
"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."
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Mike & Kat
Kat left teaching after 18 years to travel throughout the USA with her husband, Mike, who is an engineer for a Power generation company.