My grandmother Helen took each of her 16 grandchildren anywhere in the continental United States. She packed us into airplanes one at a time when we turned 12. This way we would be old enough to appreciate the trip without our parents but young enough to have discounted airfare.
Grandma said she saw the Disneyland mouse many times over those years.
Instead of Mickey, I chose Mesa Verde, Canyon de Chelly, and the Four Corners and I never was sorry.
I still remember spending the night in the basement room of her house before we left. I lay awake for hours, dreaming of my fantastic trip and the cliff dwellings tucked into those canyons. The idea of people living in those adobe homes intrigued me to no end. It still does.
I can prove the long-lasting power of the Cliff Dwellers by posting the the puzzle I wrote years later for Skipping Stones Magazine.
Make a guess at the answer if you’d like. The first correct answer gets a trinket from Louisiana when I get back.
Wishing you great adventures all your own,
AN ANCIENT PUZZLE
This ancient place is a pillar full of Native American history and legend.
Use these clues to discover the name of the pillar, where it is and who lives on top.
Clue 1: Latitude: about 36 degrees, 10 minutes N.
Clue 2: Longitude: about 120 degrees, 35 minutes W.
Clue 3: The pillar rises 791 feet out of a canyon near the Four Corners, a place where four states meet in one spot.
Clue 4: The canyon sits in a state that does not use daylight savings time.
Clue 5: The canyon became a national monument on April 1, 1931. Navajo people now live within the monument which is a part of the vast Navajo Nation.
Clue 6: Before the Navajo lived there, the Anasazi people of this canyon built houses into the cliffs over a thousand years ago.
Clue 7: One of these houses is named The White House, but no president lives inside.
Clue 8: The name of the canyon is a mispronunciation and misspelling of the Navajo word tseyi. Tseyi means canyon.
Clue 9: Legend says a Spider Woman lives on top of the pillar inside the canyon. The Navajo say she threw a web filled with dew against the sky to create the stars and helped defeat monsters that once roamed the earth. She also taught the people how to weave rugs full of intricate designs.
Clue 10: The pillar is named after the legendary woman.
Can you guess what and where it is?