First Views of Chaco Canyon
Chaco Canyon Page 3.
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The first thing that strikes you when
you enter the area of Chaco
Canyon is the dryness and the
desolation.  The ruins that are first
encountered are not particularly
remarkable, until you begin to look
closely.  While they have little
overall shape that might divulge
what they looked like when they
were intact, the quality of the
construction jumps out on close
inspection.  Even a "simple" wall
contains hundreds of thousands of
pieces of stone -- each carefully
chosen to fit together -- forming the
wall that is so smooth on the
"inside" and on the "outside", and
so rugged and shapeless in
cross-section.  Once you become
somewhat familiar with what to
look for, and can readily pick out
man-made features against the
cliffs, the next thing that you begin
to notice is the incredible degree to
which the structures blend perfectly
with the natural landscape -- not
simply because the architects
used native rock, but because the
structures appear to have naturally
grown up and out from the natural
features themselves.  The
simplicity and, at the same time,
the complexity of the achievement
is startling.  From the standpoint of
sheer labor alone, the amount of
effort that had to go into even the
smallest feature is difficult to
grasp, and when viewed as a
whole it becomes apparent that the
creators of Chaco had both the
structures and the total
environment in mind.
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