What happened to the Anasazi

Tourism: Red rocks and deep canyons - In the realm of the Anasazi

He loves his life, his wife and the children. If he actually retreats into the desert alone, it is only to discover new things that he can share with others.

"Vacationers who are in Utah, Arizona, Colorado or New Mexico rarely stop where the four states meet," says Jared. "Most drive through the route between the wild west scenery of Monument Valley and the red-brown natural stone bridges of Arches National Park and miss a lot in the process." During his time at university, Jared studied the area of ​​the Four Corners, which was probably one of the most densely populated regions in North America from the 8th to the 13th centuries. "Back then, up to half a million Anasazi lived in the widely branched canyons of the Four Corners."

Even before the Spanish arrived, the Anasazi had to leave the region probably because of a prolonged drought. What remained remained architecturally and historically remarkable ruins, mostly in the form of rock shelters with adobe stones in rock niches and under rock overhangs. While the residential complexes in Chaco Canyon or in Mesa Verde National Park have long since become a magnet for visitors, only a few buildings in the Four Corners have been awakened from their slumber.

Early in the morning we take a jeep to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The car makes its first stop at Newspaper Rock in San Juan County, about 50 kilometers northwest of Monticello. "Already about 2000 years ago, different Indian tribes engraved the first buffalos, antelopes and images of humans in this stone", explains Jared and points to a huge plate with over 650 petroglyphs. The high number of images suggests that it must have been teeming with people and animals here.

The difficult section of the expedition begins behind the entrance to the national park: the vehicle winds its way up and down steep cliffs like a caterpillar, squeezes through narrow gorges and passes red-and-white striped pinnacles and natural stone arches. Short hikes open up views of the confluence of the Green River with the Colorado, and again and again you pass former residential buildings and granaries of the Anasazi.

The hikes south of Canyonlands National Park the next day are even more spectacular. Jared leads to ruins that are far from today's civilization. No human soul can be seen far and wide. Real estate agents could charge maximum prices for this location. However, there is a problem with the water supply: dried out river beds indicate that there must have been streams and rivers here in the past. "They still exist in some places today," says Jared. "We just don't see them." (dpa)

Four Corners Adventures website