Thursday, July 17, 2008

17-08 Pagoasa Springs Colorado, continued

Pagosa Springs.

This will be a short report this week. I’m enjoying the area very much. Exploring side roads and small towns throughout the area. I went onto the Ute Reservation over the weekend to go to their small casino. It’s in their small town of Ignacio and I noticed they have a community campground, which I would imagine is pretty cheap to stay at:
The casinos usually have a great deal on a meal and if you sign up for the first time, they usually give you a players club bonus. I had a shrimp and steak dinner for $6.95 and it was really good. The players club gave me a small $2 to play their slots. I won $11, had a bit of fun and left feeling pretty good.

There are at least 25 large waterfalls in the area, many requiring a bit of a hike to see them, others are right along the main roads. I went back to Treasure Falls near the Wolf Creek Pass and hiked up to the base of the waterfalls. I was properly dressed this time and had a good pair of hiking boots on. A really pleasant hike along a well maintained switch-back path.

Later I went to one of the Hot Springs and swam around in the warm springs swimming pool and took a couple dips in the 108 degree hot springs as well.

I got my good camera back from repairs, Yippee! Hopefully I’ll be able to send some really awesome pictures of the area now that I have it back.

I just finished reading the book, “1491”, “New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus” by Charles C Mann. An excellent book about the Native American Indians covering much of the U.S., Central America and South America. Unfortunately there was no information on the Chaco Culture.

Some of the intriguing facts that have come out recently are:

  • The Native Indian populations were much larger than ever imagined.
    The East coast of the U.S. was heavily populated. Over 100,000 Indians lived in the New England area alone. It was so heavily populated that one new arrival said there was no room for any migrations from Europe to land and settle.

  • The American Indians first encountered were described as being very healthy (if a bit Adam like in dress), well fed, with very organized settlements surrounded by well manicured farm lands of maize, squash and beans and nut bearing trees, including peach trees and other fruit trees.

  • Native America Indians had a much broader impact on the land than first envisioned. Along with continuously burning the prairies and underbrush in forests, they groomed these spaces to control the hunting and it’s believed they actually grew many fruit and nut bearing trees. Along with clearing land for their farms, all of which were abandoned after large portions of their population were destroyed by disease.

  • By the time the second wave of immigrants arrived to the new land, the Indian settlements had been abandoned.
  • Most recently, it has been speculated that the diseases brought over even with the first wave of immigrants, destroyed the Native American Indians in mass
  • From the south, through Mexico, the wave of conquistadors also brought the dreaded measles and other European diseases which the Indians had no defense against. By the time the Spanish were ready to take down the Inca culture, they too had succumbed to the European diseases. Spreading them through their own trade routes into North America, way before exploration parties began searching inland. So by the time the settlers and explorers arrived, only the tribes that were at war with those who traded with the Mexican Indian population had survived because they did not interact that much with the tribes that were carrying these new diseases throughout the land.
  • The West went from a highly populated area to almost vacant land. Oddly the animal population exploded after the demise of the Indian population.

  • When the new European settlers started arriving in-mass, it appeared as if the America’s were a virgin land or at least only populated by small bands of roving Indians. In fact, they had to a large extent been exterminated by the very first encounters with those explorers.

  • New discoveries in Peru indicate that they may have in fact had the largest and oldest civilized nation in the world. The large population numbers are staggering.

  • Those are just a sampling of the bits of information I’ve gleaned from the book 1491. Much of the book covers Central and South American Indian culture and it was just fascinating to read.

  • It’s nice to have the time to read and explore. Learning new things all along the way.

  • Have a super great day,

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