Mark Varien,Ph.D., is executive vice president of the Research Institute at Crow Canyon. A preeminent Southwestern archaeologist, he is well recognized for his work in the Mesa Verde region. Dr. Varien has conducted and led archaeological research at Crow Canyon for more than twenty years. He is particularly noted for his innovative work that examines community organization and patterns of mobility in the ancient Pueblo world. During his tenure at Crow Canyon, he has established a reputation as a highly skilled instructor who can convey complex ideas in an engaging, intellectually stimulating manner.

Phillip Tuwaletstiwa, a member of the Hopi Tribe, is a geodetic scientist who served as executive and commanding officer on research ships for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Phillip has conducted research in archaeoastronomy and is featured in the award-winning film, The Mystery of Chaco Canyon (1999), as part of the Solstice Project with Anna Sofaer. Phillip has contributed to a new understanding of ancient people’s relationship with the sun and moon, and he suggests that Chaco was a center of powerful knowledge where astronomy and celestial patterning inspired the construction of monumental great houses. He also has offered some compelling insight about the spiritual purposes of Chaco Roads.

Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon

Northern Chaco Outliers Project

​Photo Courtesy of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

Kiva Kachina Dance 

Ray Naha, artist

(click on the picture for link to

GB Cornucopia, dubbed Mr. Chaco, has been an interpreter and park ranger at Chaco Canyon for 18 years. Drawn to the area by his interest in archaeoastronomy, this has remained a large inspiration for his work. He organized the donation of telescopes to Chaco Observatory and began the first public astronomy program at the park, but his interest in Chaco goes far beyond astronomy. He recently arranged for a local Puebloan dance group to come and perform traditional dances at Pueblo Bonito for the first time in hundreds of years; he wants to connect both these people to their pasts and continue the ancient traditions that are at the core of the Chacoan culture.

Philip Wiehe, Linda’s husband, is a retired Episcopal priest who takes a Jungian approach to Emerging Christianity and is a writer, dramatist, and musician.

Navajo Hoop Dancer

Pre Trip Extension: Camping in Chaco Canyon
May 8 - 11

maximum 5;  3 spaces remaining

Guest Leaders:

​Judy and Philip Tuwaletstiwa 

GB Cornucopia

Day 1. Friday, May 8.  Orientation in Farmington, New Mexico

Guests arrive by 4 p.m. in Farmington, New Mexico. Overnight Farmington, New Mexico – Courtyard by Marriott. Dinner location may vary depending on group size (D).


Day 2. Saturday, May 9.  Chaco Culture National Historic Park

Breakfast available beginning at 6:30 a.m.

This morning we head south, crossing the Bisti badlands to Chaco Canyon, which, for a time, was the center of the region's most complex culture. Here, in a barren landscape, stand monumental remnants that have withstood the canyon's harsh climate for the last 900 years. Its multi-storied "great houses" were perhaps the residences of elite community members who may have influenced trade networks, ceremonies, and political strategies. Overland roads radiated out from Chaco, linking it symbolically and logistically to lesser centers. These massive structures testify to the skills of Chaco's builders, who imported thousands of log beams from distant mountains to roof these buildings. We will visit Pueblo Bonito and surrounding rock art sites as time permits. GB Cornucopia, an interpretive ranger at Chaco Culture National Historic Park will share his knowledge of the sites in relationship to solstice markers and celestial alignments. Chaco is designated as a “Night Sky Park”, and we’ll enjoy a ranger-led evening program related to the cosmos.

Gallo Campground (B, L, D).


Day 2. Sunday, May 10. Chaco Culture National Historic Park

Spend the morning hiking to Pueblo Alto (Spanish for High Town), on the north plateau above Chaco Wash. From this rise, one can make line-of-sight connections as far north as Chimney Rock and Mesa Verde. We’ll view stairs carved into the sandstone and road segments that radiate in and out of Chaco for hundreds of miles, including the Great North Road. We’ll have a spectacular viewpoint of Pueblo Bonito and across the canyon to Casa Rinconada. End the day with an easy walk to the great kiva known as Casa Rinconada and the surrounding small sites.

Hike is 3 miles round-trip.

Gallo Campground (B, L, D).

Day 3. Monday, May 11. Aztec Ruins National Monument

Breakfast available at 6:30 a.m.

After A.D. 1125, the center of gravity in the Chaco world shifted north via the Great North Road from Chaco to what it now Aztec, New Mexico along the mighty San Juan River. We spend the morning on the north bank of the San Juan River where we visit the Salmon Ruins Museum and enjoy a tour of Salmon Pueblo, a three-story, 300-room Chaco great house that was built between A.D. 1088 and 1092. It is believed that the site was only inhabited for a short time before occupants moved to the newly constructed village of Aztec Pueblo (Aztec Ruins National Monument).

A short distance to the north along the Animas River, we visit Aztec Ruins National Monument and discuss how great houses may have been integrated into the middle San Juan region. We consider the evidence to may indicate whether or not ancient masons were Chacoan immigrants of local people who were emulating Chacoan styles. At Aztec West, we discuss the 400-room monumental great house – the largest Chaco great house outside of Chaco Canyon. By A.D. 1130 the Chaco system begins to decline in tandem with a prolonged drought and architectural styles from this moment on no longer embrace Chaco traditions.

Need to arrive in Cortez by 4:00 p.m. in time for check in and the welcome reception for the main program.

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.:  Welcome dinner, introductions, and program orientation.

Overnight in Cortez, Colorado – Holiday Inn Express (cost of this night’s lodging and dinner is already included in the cost of the main program) (B, L)

Sand Painting, Rosie Yellowhair

Mesa Verde

Second Mesa

Hovenweep National Monument

Restored Kiva, Mesa Verde

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

Photo Courtesy of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

Ronald Wadsworth is from the Village of Shungopavi, a deeply religious and traditional center of the Hopi world. Ronald carries out an important role in his village to maintain and renew Sacred Knowledge and Traditional Ways of Life. For many years, Ronald has contributed to Crow Canyon’s Pueblo Farming Project, an ongoing joint collaboration between Crow Canyon and the Hopi Tribe to help research how ancestral Pueblo people grew and sustained themselves on crops like corn, beans, and squash in the region's arid climate. Modern Hopi farmers use many of the same dry farming techniques mastered by people in the Mesa Verde region more than a thousand years ago. Ronald is also recognized and respected as Hopi Elder, Hopi Tour Guide, a talented Silversmith, and gifted storyteller of Mother Earth’s creation.

Doorways, Great House, Chaco Canyon

Join us on an investigative journey into the heart of the American Southwest where Pueblo communities share the belief that all of life is sacred. We will visit ancestral sites where Pueblo people observed the ways of the surrounding natural world and integrated wisdom into daily life through artistic expression, myth, and ritual. That spiritual heritage, which continues today, has much to teach us about our shared humanity and stewardship for the planet.


Our journey traverses the cultural landscapes of the high desert and examines the links between the ancient inhabitants of the Mesa Verde region and contemporary Hopi people of northern Arizona through archaeology, ethno-history, and oral history. Guided by Hopi tribal members, cultural specialists, artists, and archaeologists, we visit several sacred sites that play a significant role in the story of the human experience.  

Here is a draft of a detailed itinerary.  Scroll to the end for the Extension itinerary.

Day 1. Monday, May 11.  Orientation in Cortez, Colorado

4:00 p.m.:  Welcome to Cortez. Upon arrival, check into your accommodations at the Holiday Inn Express

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.:  Welcome dinner, introductions, and program orientation.

Overnight, Holiday Inn Express (D)


Day 2. Tuesday, May 12. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

6:30 a.m.:         Breakfast available

8:30 a.m.:         Depart for the Center

9:00 a.m.:         Introduction to Crow Canyon and behind-the-scenes tour of campus with Dr. Mark Varien, Executive Vice President of the Research Institute

Noon:               Lunch in the lodge

1:30 p.m.:         Depart for tour of the Haynie Site with Dr. Susan Ryan, Director of Archaeology

4:30 p.m.:         Return to hotel

6:00 p.m.:        Dinner on own

Overnight at the Holiday Inn Express in Cortez, Colorado (B, L)


Day 3. Wednesday, May 13. Mesa Verde National Park

6:30 a.m.:         Breakfast available

8:00 a.m.:        Depart for Mesa Verde with Dan Simplicio, cultural specialist and Zuni tribal member

10:00 a.m.:       Guided tour of Cliff Palace (1-hour)

12:00 p.m.:       Picnic lunch     

2:00 p.m.:        Guided tour of Balcony House (1-hour)

5:00 p.m.:        Return to hotel

6:00 p.m.:        Dinner on own

Overnight at the Holiday Inn Express in Cortez, Colorado (B, L)


Day 4. Thursday, May 14. Hovenweep National Monument / Travel day to Hopi

6:30 a.m.:         Breakfast available

8:00 a.m.:         Load luggage and depart for Hopiland

9:30 a.m.:         Stop at Hovenweep National Monument

12:00 p.m.:       Picnic lunch

4 hour drive to Second Mesa with pit stops the rest of the way in remote communities.


4:30 p.m.:         Check into the Hopi Cultural Center

6:00 p.m.:        Dinner on own, at hotel

Overnight at the Hopi Cultural Center on Second Mesa, (928) 734-2401 (B, L)


Day 5. Friday, May 15. Hopi mesas 

7:00 – 8:00 a.m.: Breakfast available

9:00 a.m.:         Walpi Village Tour, (928) 737-9556

12:30 p.m.:        Lunch Joseph and Janice Day on Second Mesa;; (928) 734-2478

Afternoon learning about agriculture

Dinner on own, at hotel

Overnight at the Hopi Cultural Center on Second Mesa (B, L)


Day 6. Saturday, May 16. Hopi ceremonies 

7:00 – 8:00 a.m.: Breakfast available

Learn about ceremonial life of the Hopi (observe a dance if open to the public).

In the afternoon, visit extensive rock art panels at Taawa Park [no facilities].

Dinner on own, at hotel

Overnight at the Hopi Cultural Center on Second Mesa (B, L)


Day 7.  Sunday, May 17. Return to Cortez

7:00 – 8:00 a.m.: Breakfast

8:15 a.m.:          Load luggage and 8:30 a.m. depart for Kayenta (130 miles: 2.5 hrs – lose an hour).

Pit stop in Tuba City.


12:00 p.m. (MST):          Navajo National Monument. Betatakin overlook & visitor center

Picnic lunch

2:00 PM:          Depart for Cortez

5:00 PM:          Check into HIX – Cortez

7:00 PM:          Final Dinner

Lodge at HIX – Cortez (B, L)

Day 10. Monday, May 18. Breakfast; End program


Judy Tuwaletstiwa has been a visual artist, writer and teacher for fifty years. Her art, including her three books, resides in private and museum collections. After earning Degrees in English Literature from U.C. Berkeley and Harvard University, she discovered the power of visual art to connect us to the deepest part of ourselves. She writes: Our first language is the rhythmic beating of our mother’s heart. Our second language is the texture of our mother’s skin. My art grows from these languages.

Linda McFadden is a retired UCC minister who takes a Jungian approach to her life and practice as a spiritual director. She is a Haden Institute Mentor, writer, photographer, and musician.

Ancient Wisdom: Uncovering the Myths, Symbols, and Rituals of the Pueblo Peoples

May 11 - 18, 2020


Pre Trip Extension: Camping in Chaco Canyon

May 8 - 11  (2 spaces left)

in association with the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Cortez, Colorado

Leaders: Linda McFadden, Philip Wiehe

Linda and Philip are the co-founders of PilgrimQuests and have led pilgrimages to sacred sites in Ireland, England, Iona, and France

Guest Leaders:  Ronald Wadsworth, Tayler Hasbrouck

This unique pilgrimage follows the footsteps of the ancient Pueblo People in order to uncover their ancient wisdom of living in harmony with Earth and Spirit through visits to archaeological sites and encounters with contemporary Hopi people