Over the holiday weekend, I crashed my family’s long-anticipated vacation: UTAZ 2016. I flew into Salt Lake and caught up with everyone in Bluff, Montana. Here are a few of my favorite moments from the Four Corners Monument, the exact spot where Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado meet. Pictured are my mom and dad, Aunt A, Uncle T, and my cousins O & C.
Words are failing me as I attempt to describe the immersive, strange, beautiful experience that is Meow Wolf, so I’m going to defer to their website:
Meow Wolf is an arts production company that creates immersive, multimedia experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of storytelling. Our work is a combination of jungle gym, haunted house, children’s museum, and immersive art exhibit. This unique fusion of art and entertainment gives audiences fictional worlds to explore.”
I could have wandered around in there for hours, and over Memorial Day weekend, they expanded and added more rooms, so I’m definitely going to have to find time to go back. If you ever find yourself in Santa Fe, definitely check it out!
Keeping with the grand tradition of “white people calling Native American things by the wrong name,” these ruins aren’t Aztec. They’re actually attributed to Pueblo peoples (Zuni, Hopi, Navajo, Zia…just to name a few) who also don’t consider them ruins. The Pueblo peoples consider the land to be their bible, and this site, as well as the “ruins” in Chaco Canyon, extremely holy places that their ancestors still occupy. In short, the “Aztec Ruins” are neither Aztec nor ruins. Discuss.
The construction of these multi-story communities started as early as 1100AD and integrated super complex mathematical computations into the architecture and design, aligning the structures with the cosmos.
I cannot say enough about how wonderfully this site is maintained and how awesome the National Parks team is. When I arrived, I was handed a laminated packet filled with super insightful information around the structure organized by stop on the short trail. The on-site museum is superbly curated and everyone on site was incredibly knowledgable and passionate.
Monday, I spent a couple hours exploring the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park in Carlsbad, NM. I was delighted to learn from the docent that Living Desert is NOT your typical zoo. All the animals there are indigenous to the various desert environments and are only in captivity because a) they’ve been injured or were sick or b) they’ve imprinted onto humans in a way that would make them vulnerable in the wild…so it feels more like a wildlife sanctuary than a zoo.