Guided Tour of Shabik'eshchee
Contact: Russ Bodnar, (505) 786-7014 ext.. 240
Tour of Shabik’eshchee Village
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Join park staff for a special tour of Shabik’eshchee Village on Saturday, October 27, 2007. Shabik’eshchee is a large pithouse village located on Chacra Mesa near the park’s east boundary. It is perhaps one of the best known pithouse settlements in the Four Corners region, and is considered a type site for the Basketmaker III period. Though not securely dated, Shabik’eshchee clearly pre-dates the earliest Chacoan great houses by at least 300 years. In addition to Shabik'eshchee itself, the tour will go to two petroglyph sites and a sun-watching station.
Shabik’eshchee Village is normally not open to visitors; however, in commemoration of Chaco’s Centennial, the site will be open for three guided tours this fall (check the website for future dates). Shabik’eshchee is a very fragile site, and must be treated with care and respect; do not enter the pithouses themselves, and do not collect any artifacts. Because of the site’s fragility, as well as its relatively remote location, the tour will be limited to 15 participants. If interested in reserving a place on the tour, or for more information, ask at the Visitor Center or call 505-786-7014. It is also imperative to understand that the hike to Shabik’eshchee is fairly strenuous, and should only be attempted if one is in reasonably good physical condition (the hike involves climbing a steep incline to the top of Chacra Mesa).
The tour will begin at 8:30 AM, and will leave from the Visitor Center. We will carpool from the Visitor Center, as the number of vehicles will be limited to five. Under ideal conditions (if the service road that runs past Wijiji is reasonably dry), the tour will last from two to three hours, and will involve about 1 ½ miles of walking. If, however, the road past Wijiji is quite wet and muddy, the tour will last much longer (about five hours) and will involve more walking (about six miles) Therefore, take plenty of water, food, a hat, and sunscreen. The tour involves crossing an ephemeral wash. If the wash is impassible, we will not be able to go to Shabik’eshchee, but will still go to Wijiji, a Chacoan great house, as an alternate hike.
Other than the park entrance fee, there is no additional charge for the tour. To sign up for the tour, or for more information, stop by the Visitor Center or call:(505) 786-7014
Did You Know?
The climate of Chaco Canyon 1,000 years ago was very similar to the climate in the park today, with annual precipitation of only eight to nine inches. The Puebloans constructed water control features like dams, canals, and headgates for farming in such a dry environment.