Books About the Cedar Mesa Area
Victoria Atkins, editor
Anasazi Basketmaker: Papers from the 1990 Wetherill-Grand Gulch Symposium
Cultural Resource Series No. 24, Bureau of Land Management, Salt Lake City, 1993
Click the title to read Utah State University's digitized version!
Fred M. Blackburn and Ray A. Williamson
Cowboys and Cave Dwellers: Basketmaker Archaeology in Utah's Grand Gulch
School of American Research Press, 1997
Catherine M. Cameron
Chaco and After in the Northern San Juan: Excavations at the Bluff Great House
University of Arizona Press, 2008
House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest
Little, Brown, 2007
Sally J. Cole
Legacy on Stone: Rock Art of the Colorado Plateau and Four Corners Region (revised and updated edition)
Johnson Books, 2009
Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land
North Point Press, 2009
R. G. Matson
The Origins of Southwestern Agriculture
University of Arizona Press, 1991
Richard Wetherill: Anasazi: Pioneer Explorer of Ancient Ruins in the American Southwest
University of New Mexico Press, 1966
Sacred Land, Sacred View: Navajo Perceptions of the Four Corners
Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Brigham Young University, Provo, 1992
Comb Ridge and Its People: The Ethnohistory of a Rock
Utah State University Press, 2009
The Last Cheater's Waltz: Beauty and Violence in the Desert Southwest
Henry Holt, 1999
The Anthropology of Turquoise: Meditations on Landscape, Art, and Spirit
Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild
Teri Paul, editor
Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum: Collections
Cedar Mesa: A Place Where Spirits Dwell
University of Arizona Press, 2002
In Search of the Old Ones: Exploring the Anasazi World of the Southwest
Simon and Schuster Touchstone Books, 1996
Sandstone Spine: Seeking the Anasazi on the First Traverse of the Comb Ridge
The Mountaineers Books, 2005
Anasazi America: Seventeen Centuries on the Road from Center Place
University of New Mexico Press, 2000
Wind in the Rock: The Canyonlands of Southeastern Utah
Harper and Row, 1978
Voices of Cedar Mesa
"Elements" by Ann Walka from her book WATERLINES
Down from Muley Point
rise straight and dignified
above the copper river
They are washed with rose
and coral and burnt sienna
with gray lichen
a hand-tinted illustration
in a volume
from an antiquarian bookstore
learned from the Greeks
that there are only
earth air fire and water
In the hubris that is science
Down from Muley Point
I merge like a tributary
into rills of pink water
and sing off key
to an upstream wind
Burned to ash my dreams
make stones on the hillside
crackle and slide
My skin taste of salt
and iron and dust
What more can I say
Torrents of knowledge
may pour down on us
like red mud
flooding over a cliff
but still we are only
these four strands
arranged in the minds
FROM THE UNPUBLISHED JOURNALS OF ELLEN MELOY
May 1, 1982 - Grand Gulch.
The canyon is aromatic with moisture and new foliage; an extravagant amount of water trickles down the streambeds and allows the emergence of plants and creatures after the long stillness of winter. The morning sun is warm, especially after a few miles of trail. Luminous white clouds pass over the canyon rims and we walk alternatively between shadow and sunlight.
It is still early for many wildflowers, paintbrush and buffalo berry are common along the trail. At The Junction of Kane Gulch and Grand Gulch, large cottonwoods and Gamble Oak mark the spring; their leaves are still small and enfolded, but present enough to make a green cloud of the treetops. At this junction is a large cliff dwelling -- inaccessible, or so it seems, unless like a human fly, you could crawl straight up the face of the sandstone wall. For the Anasazi who knew it, there was an order of foot and handholds; if you didn't know it, you'd be clinging to the face of the rock with no holds in reach: the end of the formula that would get you to the top.
The trail descends deeper into the Gulch - sweeping bays of sandstone walls, one after another. The water is luxurious, almost a perennial stream. When I think I'm going to fall flat on my face with delirium, we come to pour off -- and S funnel of rocks into a deep emerald pool. I consider it paradise and plop down ridding myself of boots and socks in a matter of seconds. But it doesn't last. Dark clouds have joined together in a steel gray mass and Mark is looking for shelter. I'm sitting slack-jawed and spaced by this pour off, oblivious to the transformation of what I have convinced myself is immutable. But it is going to rain. I slowly climb to an overhang and join Mark in refuge from a desert thunderstorm.
Crouched in a wedge of rock, with barely enough room for us and our packs, we watch the rain wash the slickrock to a gleaming shine. Soon the small patches of black moss become domes of deep green. Water pours off the rims in slender falls and below, the emerald pool is a rising circle of brown water fed by a rush of floodwater from the stream. The storm goes on and on. Soon we have no place that is dry, so we rush down to the canyon floor and backtrack up the trail to an overhang large enough to accommodate us in more comfort to wait out the rain.
We sleep near a ruin. It may be the one of the breach birth petroglyph, the one that Ann Zwinger feels is cold and haunting, perhaps because of the petroglyph or the discovery of a mummy, whose apparent death was violent, gashes sewn up with thick string, arms crossed on the wound in pain. But we can't tell -- the main dwelling is above us and the ledge floor has fallen to the midden heap. There is no way to see if the petroglyph is here. It does not feel cold and uncomfortable. The arch of the overhang frames the canyon in perfect grace, and we are dry. It isn't hard to imagine tiny brown people here, climbing the rock with small, agile feet, working their maize fields on the terrace below.
The sun is out this morning, the moisture clings to leaves and blades; it is still an extravagance, all this water. The prickly pear and claret cup cactus are nearly obese, swollen fat with moisture and bearing flowers that will bloom at any moment.
The ruins we explore still have remnants of their occupants, but nothing near what must have been here when Richard Wetherill (between a grave robber and a skilled archaeologist) excavated in the 1890s. All the contents shipped to New York City -- far from these canyons where they make so much sense. But laid out on rocks and metates are shards and objects for the hiker to see. Corncobs, husks tied in knots, corrugated pottery, the black and white pottery of the later Pueblo period, string, Juniper burlap cloth, an atlatl shaft wrapped in twine (human hair?), rabbits fur, turkey feathers wrap it -- everything seems to be wrapped so carefully in little twists of bark or fiber. Two outstanding shards are: a black and white checked pot rim, and one with rows of painted lines, which I try to draw not very successfully.
The seven or eight miles up Bullet Canyon are at first easy, through patches of purple red wild sweet pea blossoms, and just-about-to-bloom, prickly pear and claret cup. One patch of phlox nestles in a rock, and there is a kind of mat-plant daisy. Horsetail ferns along the stream make a meadow of the banks. The stream bed is usually dry, with water collected in potholes (from the rainstorms) and occasional springs. Above, we sometimes see a grain storage cist -- hovering in a rock with unknown, seemingly impossible access.
The last of Bullet is boulder-strewn, but with a stairstep of three or four large potholes in slickrock ledges. We scramble up them and out on the rimrock where for the first time in three days, we can see not just cloud bottoms, but whole clouds moving in groups among the juniper-covered Mesa.
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