How the Ancient Puebloans Lived Large in the Grand Canyon Even Though Water Was Scarce

ancient Puebloans
the Grand Canyon

Enjoying September at the Grand Canyon

Stare at this view. With a backpack full of food and a water bottle handy, we had the privilege of doing this for as long as we wanted without worrying about how we would survive. Gazing across the Grand Canyon, we let our minds wander about how it might be to live there.

We wondered how the trees could root around to find enough water to turn even the spiniest needles green. But suppose we had to depend on this view to house, clothe, and shelter us?

That thought made us grateful for the stores and modern conveniences we enjoy today without considering how they got there and continue to exist. Indeed, with the coming of the ubiquitous Amazon online grocery stores, the rumor is that we will soon be able to buy everything we need from Amazon and in some locations enjoy a two-hour delivery time. Humans today may never have to leave their homes to even gather food.

But that was not the case for these ancient desert dwellers.

Ancient Puebloans
Tusayan Museum and Ruin

Visit the Tusayan Museum and Ruin

This easy paved path to the museum and through the Tusayan Village or gathering loop makes a beautiful walk through the park. Yet it was very unlike what the natives must have faced living here day after day.  Merely lining a path with the abundant decorative rock, makes it a thing of beauty. During the days of habitation, though, it is doubtful that so much greenery and stones would be used only to beautify the environment as it is today.

Ancient Puebloans
The Gathering Loop

The Gathering Loop Where the Early Puebloans Shopped

Like the sign says, it’s only a .01 mile loop shopping center. What could you do with a yucca and a pinyon pine? There was not a lot of variety here to provide needed items for food, clothing, and shelter.

The daytime weather in September might not warrant a need for many clothes. The temperatures soared into the high seventies by mid-afternoon. By night they ancient Puebloans might have needed at least a blanket. They might make a basket out of pine needles, but a pine blanket would be somewhat scratchy and not very cozy.

To make baskets out of pine needles requires that you soak them in water overnight first to make them pliable enough to bend, twist, and weave into a basket. We did not see an abundance of water springing out of the ground at this site. So we wondered how they made baskets.

Ancient Puebloans
a daisy inches off the path

Possible Food

Off the trail, a few inches this beautiful daisy grew amid some sparse grasses. Probably you could eat the daisy, but it would not be very filling. You might weave the stems into a basket, but the petals would not last. Maybe the pollen would attract bees, and you could harvest the honey for food. The dead tree might be useful to create some shoes or better yet, digging tools. There might be some tasty bugs living on the decaying wood. The grasses might be soft enough to weave into some light-weight summer clothing or a blanket. Small sizes only!

ancient puebloans
Along the Gathering Loop

Caring for Trees

Walking along the path, you see more fallen logs and branches. We learned that they did use wood in their buildings for ladders and frames for the rocks which they piled together to build walls. If they wanted windows, wood frames were essential. One guide told us that in the days of habitation there would not have been this many trees along the path. Shopping would have been more limited than it is today.

Possibly, however, the trees were in better shape because the ancient people harvested from them and cared for them. The oak trees in Central California were undoubtedly more prolific and better cared for during the time with the Yokuts Indians inhabited the rich Southern San Joaquin Valley. Since they harvested the acorns for making flour, the native people took better care of the trees, and no doubt saved some of the acorns to plant more trees.

Ancient puebloans
the Living Quarters

Ancient Puebloan Housing

Here you can see the foundation of their houses. Possibly in the middle circle, there was a place for a fire. You can imagine how the Puebloans would use every small scrap of wood.

The rectangular shapes of the stones look perfect for stacking. Don’t you wonder how they transported them to their housing sites? Were there plenty of rocks in one area, so they built several homes here, or did they have to scavenge the flatland and carry their stones to the homesites. Possibly the remodeled and added to the rocks that had been built by an earlier inhabitant that had moved on or died out.

ancient puebloans
the Living Quarters

Here you see how nicely the stones stacked. They might have held them together with dirt mixed with urine to make the mud. Apparently, that made a durable cement. In the foreground, you see what we would use as ornamental flowers in our yards. I wonder what gems these tiny yellow flowers held for the native desert dwellers.

ancient puebloans
rocks and daisy

Appreciating Subsistence

As you can tell, subsistence in this location would be difficult. They might have gathered insects that swarmed out from under the rocks when they dug them out. Flowers and grasses would not have sustained them for very long. Maybe the kids ate rocks like the children in the book Stone Soup or my brother when he was young. More likely they used the rocks to kill or wound larger animals which would have provided more adequate clothing, blankets, and food.

ancient puebloans
finishing the Gathering Loop

It did not take long to complete the .01 mile loop. You can imagine that it took several days for park workers to create this beautiful path that only takes visitors minutes to amble around. Yet, as they walked along the way, what thoughts do you think filtered through their minds? No one talked much, so it’s hard to say.

What’s your impression?

For More Photo Challenges

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How to Get Someone Out of a Grouchy Mood Even If You’re at the Grand Canyon

What a Beautiful Place to Be Grumpy!

Grand Canyon grumps
“Or not!”

Hopefully, like the cheerful woman in the picture, you have to wonder how anyone could be grumpy in such splendor.

However, for some families, traveling together is like packing two large dogs after a run in the mud, a couple of old grouchy cats, and a gopher in your suitcase, and hoping your clothes come out unscathed.

Do you know someone like this? They’d rather be home. They like their own bed. They hate crowds?

Grand Canyon grumps“Don’t plan a bunch of stuff that we have to do. I don’t want to do anything, just relax.”

Traveling is an ordeal with grumps in your family even if they are your favorite people. Ms. G. Stumpy might even be you. But even Sensitive Sam and Grumpy Stumpy go to some of the most sought-after vacation spots in the world and have a great time.

How do they do it?

Will you ever be able to get your Sensitive Sam past the front door?

Grand Canyon grumps

Before you take off consider these basic needs. You can make it easier for Grumpy Stumpy and in so doing will make it easier for yourself and the rest of the family when you travel.

Allow Grumpy Travelers to Help Plan the Trip

We decided to drive to the Grand Canyon, and you can read why in an earlier post.

Some of the views, like these, are only accessible by car, while others are just available by tour bus.  You can catch this stony tower and the rest of these travel shots at the East Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon grumps
Desert View Watchtower

One step you can take so that everyone has fun is to let others plan the trip. It’s just like cooking, if they grow the vegetables and help cook the food, they will enjoy the meal more.

If you are ordinarily a planner, this means that you may have to step back and be satisfied with what they plan. Some travelers prefer to have others make the decisions and be flexible about the results. For the planners, here is a great video to plan your Grand Canyon trip.

Grand Canyon grumpsGive them a job that they love. Even little ones adore being the photographer.  Keeping busy behind the tripod might be the emotional safety net that the teen or adult in your group needs to enjoy the trip.

Grand Canyon grumps

Everyone Needs His or Her Own Space

Grand Canyon grumpsTraveling puts people in tighter quarters than they usually have at home. Unfamiliar roads, eateries, beds all add to travel anxiety. When you get to a place where you can spread out, take advantage of it.

None of this man’s family is sitting with him on the edge of paradise. There’s a reason for that. In families, different members enjoy different experiences.

You may be the one to make compromises and watch the kids or wait behind while someone takes a few minutes to themselves.

Grand Canyon grumpsOr possibly you are the one who wanted to go down the trail, and your family member decided he’d sit at the top and watch. This may be stressful for family leaders who wish to make everyone to do what they want to do.

Hopefully, someone in the family has a sense of humor and is willing to follow the leader. With sensitive/grumpy families it’s probably best not to travel in groups of three where there are two leaders and only one follower!

Grand Canyon grumpsEight Cures for Tightly Packed Grouches

Finding emotional space when you’re in tight places, like the car may be more difficult.

If conversations heat up and the volume rises higher than the temperature in Arizona in August, try these temper tamers.

  1. Get lost in a book and have plenty of books, paper, audio, or digital for everyone to have an escape.
  2. Play a game.
  3. Allow the grumpy one to choose the music, or
  4. Take turns choosing the music.
  5. Bring earphones!
  6. Ignore the grump. Let your mind wander, soak up the scenery and block out the family disputes.
  7.  Maybe someone in the group is a captivating storyteller. Remind them of a story you’ve enjoyed, and let them regale.
  8. If there’s a motion sensitive grump in the group, audiobooks work well to distract and stimulate.

When All Else Fails – Eat or Drink

Grand Canyon grumps

Actually eating and drinking is a great diversion, no matter who does it. In this case, the squirrel built an entirely new community around its own needs. Everyone else forgot what made them grumpy.

If someone suffers from travel grumpiness, it may be that they suffer from low blood sugar. Travelers get hungry when they’re not on a schedule. You think about packing food for kids, but sometimes it’s the adult who needs sustenance to stay healthy emotionally.

Grand Canyon grumpsSo pack nuts. They travel well and are easily accessible from anywhere along the trail. You might lace the nuts with chocolate chips and dried cranberries for some added flavor and zing.

Squirrels eat nuts too.

Grand Canyon grumpsThis traveler had a long straw coming out of a water supply inside the backpack that sort of hung around his neck. Unlike the squirrel, he could take a sip when he wanted.

You might add some sandwiches, chips and cold drinks in your cooler. At the Grand Canyon, lunch costs almost as much as an egg during the Gold Rush. You stand in a long line for a sandwich from the refrigerated case. If you drive, pack a lunch. If the place you go has a great restaurant, you can eat your lunch later.

Grand Canyon grumps

Summary

This trip provided enough interest so that everyone could do something they enjoyed, from sitting next to a loved one receiving a gentle back rub to a talking your girlfriend into taking a dangerous-looking hike down a canyon trail.

Grand Canyon grumpsMaybe you can relate to some of these stressful vacation situations.

You may be the grump, or you may be the smoothie. Either way, you can help the vacation by packing emotional health tricks as well as your digital camera.

So turn that family grump into a photographer or blogger, storyteller, or reader and enjoy more of your next vacation.

For more fun walks around the world check out these two blogs.

#Which Way Challenge #Monday Walks with Jo

Related Posts

A+ Book Review Traveling Hints to Keep More of Your Clothes On

Resources

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201306/how-manage-your-partners-bad-moods

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201409/10-quick-ways-get-out-bad-mood

https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/ways-highly-sensitive-people-survive-vacation/

A Tall Tale By An Average Size Boy

Written by: Paula Terrill

In Collaboration with Edward Haney

Illustrations by: Kara-Lynn Smith

My name is Edward. I know what you are thinking, that is a boring and common name. That’s true, but I am not boring or common. I am the most amazing person you will ever meet because my family is famous! Not like movie stars. Better than that.

Chef Paula

My mom is the best baker in the world. Just for fun, she decided to make a chocolate pudding pie big enough for everyone in the state of California to share it.

She didn’t have a big enough bowl for that, so she used the Grand Canyon to mix everything together.

When it was done mixing, she didn’t have a refrigerator big enough to chill it, so she had it flown to the North Pole. It took 200 helicopters to get it off the ground.

My dad is the nicest guy you will ever meet. He holds doors for people. He always remembers to say please and thank you. He loves kids and animals, and even old people. He loves animals so much that he is a wild animal rescuer in Africa.

Wildlife Rescuer Joey

Every week, he gets on his super fast speed boat and travels to Africa to save animals that are sick or injured. Last week, he met a cheetah with a toothache. The cheetah told my dad (you see my dad speaks cheetah) that he had been eating too many berries because he didn’t want to hurt the gazelles and the sugar in the berries caused a cavity.

My dad pulled the tooth and made a necklace for the cheetah to keep forever.

My grandpa may be the most amazing person of all time. When you first meet him, he is quiet and friendly, but don’t let that fool you. He is a knife maker during the day, but in his spare time, he wrestles bears.

Knifemaker Grandpa

This one time we were camping when a great big brown bear came running towards our camp. It was so scary, but my grandpa jumped in front of him and flipped him over. My grandpa is so strong, when he threw that bear to the ground; he caused a great big hole that went all the way through the middle of the mountain. After that, they changed the name of the mountain to Mount Vesuvius.

There was another time we came across a Yeti. That’s a Big Foot that is all covered in snow. It was three times taller than my grandpa and weighed at least a ton. My grandpa scared him so bad, he ran away so fast that it caused an avalanche and buried all the Yeti’s in the snow. That’s why no one can find the Yeti’s anymore.

Yeti and Eddie

I know it is hard to believe from someone with the name Edward, but take my word for it, my family is the most wonderful family ever.