Ranger Kathryn's Arches

January 6, 2012

archeological sites and why they fascinate

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 6:04 am
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Relishing being at an ancestral Puebloan archeological site

It’s as if you’re there, or they’re here — whoever ‘they’ are. You see their finger smears and prints in the construction mortar. You can superimpose your hand over their painted handprints, invoking wonder. You find things they left behind that were important to them — tools, foodstuffs, art, clothing, structures. Last year: a molar on an alcove floor, a scrap of yucca sandal, a black human hair in the ancient doorway mud, a dessicated squash stem, a metate (grinding stone), a stone tool found in the wash. These were the people, the families, the predecessors, who walked the Colorado Plateau eight or ten centuries ago. How can I help but feel that their lives are inextricably entwined with mine? Archeological sites are my favorite places.

April 23, 2011

Exultation & Exhaustion

Rookie job of packing, but it worked! Kathryn treks in Bullet Canyon, Utah.

The verdict is in for my first backpacking trip: Marvelous Success. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. You know that combination of “I love this so much” plus “it hurts so good” — ?? That delightful satisfaction that comes when you push your limits and find that nothing terrible happens?

Filtering your own water from a spring, or finding centuries-old pottery shards to admire at a ruin, or climbing 60 feet up a steep cliff to photograph an archeological site —  these kinds of “firsts” open up a whole new world of possibilities. I found myself thinking outside the box the entire time. “What’s stopping me from (X)?” began to supplant “I don’t think I can (X).”

Truth be told, I’m spent… especially legs and hips. My body is resilient, however, and I’ll get that spring back in my step by tomorrow. The pure joy of being in a wild land and being able to decide where to put our tent and how many miles to hike and what alcoves to explore, without having to bump into more than a handful of others, was what caused my heart to sing. The nights were cool, the days perfect, the experience magnificent. Details to come.

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