Southwest Field Exploration Part 1/4

April 3, 2010

Last semester a friend of mine had told me about an archaeology class offered at CMC. I was skeptical on enrolling in the class because archaeology never really interested me. At the time, I already had enough classes on my plate and I wasn’t interested. So I kindly declined his proposal, I didn’t want to take the class. And that was that… About a week after my Snow Orientation class, I was exhausted and burnt out from backpacking in the winter. My body was eager to get the hell away from snow for a few days. At the same time that was happening, my buddy came back to me letting me know that that archaeology class had an open spot. He really wanted me to join this for some reason. Once he had informed me that it included backpacking in the desert, I was sold. So I enrolled in the class. I should have asked more about the class itself, but I didn’t care at the time. I just wanted to go someplace warm and learn some stuff. The class was called Southwest Field Exploration.

Walking into the first day of class I was eager to see what it was all about. Our teacher Angie Krall, told us that Southwest Field Exploration is a class that introduces the social, religious, economic and cultural development of the Ancestral Puebloan peoples of the southwest commonly known as the Anasazi. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I previously had no idea what archaeology was even about. I was just scared of its technical term. I actually showed a major interest in archaeology the more she talked about the class. Within the first 10 minutes of her introduction, I was hooked. The class included traveling to Utah, backpacking into remote canyons, practicing archaeological interpretation, and visiting ancient ruins, artifacts and rock art. I was very excited. I knew that I was going to learn a lot while having fun in the process.

Our day of departure began on March 26, at 7:00 a.m. Everyone met in the lower monson parking lot to load up the gear. Because we were car camping, I had packed a ton of incredible food because I was redeeming myself for how poorly I packed on Snow O. Anyway, our first stop on the drive was in Moab, Utah AKA jeep country USA. The only vehicles in Moab were 4-wheel drive. It consisted mainly of huge jeeps or monster trucks. We were about 5 hours away from steamboat, with another 2.5 more to go. We grabbed a quick lunch and were back on the road. Thankfully I was able to catch some z’s in the car so the drive was not bad at all. Our 2nd stop was in Monticello Utah. Angie went to the park ranger office to pick up the group permit for our stay. There were some complications with paperwork so we got delayed about 45 minutes, but soon enough we were on the home stretch. Our final destination was in Bluff Utah. We made way to a campground deep in the Comb Region.

It was getting dark so we set up camp quickly. I was surprised at how cold it was too. As soon as the sun went down in that desert, it went from 80 degrees, to a freezing 28 degrees. That was shocking for me. Luckily, I was prepared and had my winter jacket. It was ironic that everyone was running around in the sand and dirt covered in winter clothing. I made myself a quick dinner on my incredible new MSR vortex stove. With a full stomach and a tired body, I hit the hay. I was very excited for the next day.

This would be my home for the next 4 days

To be continued…

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