(June 27, 2022)—Field school is truly an experience like no other—you work, play, and live with your classmates. We all have the same experiences but discuss them through many different lenses. An experience I will never forget was our field trip to Chaco Canyon with Paul Reed.
When I began my college experience, I was assigned various articles on Chaco that advanced a plethora of different interpretations. Learning more about Chaco inspired me to change my major from psychology to anthropology. I have always wanted to go to Chaco and see it for myself. Three years later, I can officially state that I have achieved my dream.
Our journey through Chaco started on a beautiful clear June night. We slept under the stars, surrounded by the most amazing canyon walls and structures. This was a perfect setup for the next day, which began with a cool breeze and a burst of energy for the coming trip. I could barely contain my excitement, knowing that we would spend eight hours touring places I had only ever seen in pictures.
We toured Hungo Pavi, Chetro Ketl, and Pueblo Bonito. Listening to Paul Reed describe his interpretations—and his willingness to explain and describe other views—further underscored the diverse interpretations of this place. It was astounding to see the work of skilled masons and the degree of preservation—some structures are still standing three stories tall! This architecture will be ingrained in my mind forever. To walk across a plaza knowing people lived and experienced a world so different roughly 1,000 years ago is something I cannot explain in words. For me, it was a very solidifying moment. Whether or not I choose to study Chaco in the future, the canyon taught me that I did choose the right major and the right future for myself.