If ever you hanker for red rock canyon lands and the sense that you are an intrepid explorer head to Cedar Mesa and the Grand Gulch country of southern Utah. There you can throw on a backpack and hike into a spot like Collins Canyon where in a few hours you'll trek past Banister Ruin (above). It's well preserved thanks to the sheltered location and includes a roofed kiva!
These places housed the ancestors of today's People people. They dot the southwest and in Grand Gulch so many are tucked away in nooks and on south-facing sandstone ledges. They have lasted for centuries - time capsules that hold the history of a people.
They tell us that farmers lived here - managing to create enough surplus that they needed these clever storehouses for their corn crops. The canyons are well watered for an arid land - some have running streams and productive springs. The canyon walls that sheltered families were etched on too - here a collection of petroglyphs stand out, cut through the desert varnish (stained or oxidized rock layer) to reveal the lighter rock beneath.
On my second morning in a canyon labyrinth I bent to scoop water. The canyon walls were close here - they seemed to be on all sides, except for the blue strip above, and reflected in the running stream.
This places drew inhabitants for centuries, then they left and archaeologists and cowboys came. Writers, poets, and backpackers too. Edward Abbey roamed this land long enough to correctly (I believe) observe, “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit” . . how right on he was - still is.