About ten years ago, I visited my father in Germany. He is living in a new house now. He moved into it a few months after I left for college. Not one bit traumatizing.
Anyway, near my dad’s new house is a park. And in the middle of the park are the ruins of a Roman bathhouse. Apparently, when they were digging to build the park, they accidentally discovered the ruins. Just like that–WHOOPS. Now you’d think that these ruins might now be some sort of preserved site or at least that there’d be signs saying something like, “Hey, keep off the Roman ruins from the SECOND CENTURY,” but nope: they’re just there, hanging out, just like this
because Europe has so many Roman ruins just lying around that this one is just not that special.
(True fact: click here if you don’t believe me.)
At first, I found this appalling. Then I thought it was kind of cool. “Only in Europe,” I thought.
And then I moved to the Southwest.
In the Southwest, there are also tons of ruins, Native American ruins, that is. Yes, some of them are protected and preserved, like Hovenweep, Mesa Verde, Walnut Canyon, Chaco Canyon, etc. But there are a lot of ruins just hanging around, too.
Using Michael Kelsey’s awesome guidebook Hiking and Exploring the Paria River, we hiked into an area near Kitchen Canyon. Even sans ruins, the place was pretty gorgeous: fields of sage and streaked canyon walls covered with what’s called “desert varnish.”
The ruins weren’t the most impressive, truth be told.
But what got me most was that there were still smoke stains on the rocks. I’ve seen this elsewhere but it never fails to give me the oh-my-god-i’m-touching-history shivers.
Nearby was a cool petroglyph, too,
and another one on the way out
But it was Pottery Butte that was the biggest history spill in the whole place. But I’m gonna have to save that for the next post.