Oh, I better explain something; when you're looking up mileage for getting to places, well, it can be a little confusing. On maps, the mileage is geared towards vehicles, a mile is a mile is a mile; straight forward. On hiking sites, the mileage is geared towards how long it takes a person to walk somewhere; or that seems to be how many write their experiences up as. For Roy and myself, we travel via "mesa miles"; while the odometer gives us the actual mile is a map mile; time wise, a "mesa mile" equals whenever the heck we get somewhere from stopping to take photos, hike around and explore. Guess you can call the "mesa mile" a combination of vehicle travel and adventure spirit. In other words, don't ask me how long it takes to get somewhere; I'll tell you the map miles, but other than that, you're on your own. Back to our regularly scheduled writing...
The six miles between the second set of rock art and the pueblo is filled with a twisting, turning road of beautiful landscape full of mesas, buttes, rock formations, cliff dwellings; even the ranches and roaming cattle create the classic picture.
|Same formation, different view up close|
Across from the above formation, you'll see a large flat faced boulder with black markings on it. The markings are simple desert varnish, no rock art; you'll drive next to it on the road and see how huge the boulder is.
The river beds are dry and deep; I wonder what secrets are buried in that sandy soil and packed walls?
Map time; the third arrow, pointing east, is at 4.5 miles; there is a ranch on the eastern side with cliffs in the background. Look for a wide cave opening which at first might just look like a bunch of broken rocks inside it...nope, using my zoom lens, I found a dwelling there. Across from the area is a beautiful open area leading to hills, but wait; look behind you at the buttes you passed by and probably didn't even notice.
2.5 map miles to go and welcome to Three Kiva Pueblo; don't blink, you'll miss the turn off! While there is a sign directly outside the Pueblo's wooden fence, there is nothing on the roadway to indicate its location; you either see it, or you drive by it. Before going up the stone walkway and exploring, stop and look around, drink in all that beauty; stop and listen, the silence is deafening.
|Three Kiva Pueblo|
Three Kiva Pueblo is maintained by the BLM; they have available a simple informational pamphlet at their field offices, or at welcome centers. This is a well preserved Puebloan settlement, hence the care given to it as opposed to the Browns Canyon Ruins. A map to better help you get the lay of the rooms.
Kive #3 is located in the front of the pueblo, Kiva #2 is to the right; both have not been excavated. As you continue up the walkway on the left side, the "rooms" ahead are the "bins" labeled on the map. A short climb upwards past them will bring you to solid dirt and Kiva #1.
Kiva #1 is very well preserved and an impressive structure; it is, though, completely abandoned. What do I mean by that? I have visited many Kivas and felt...something; even my photos have given credence of this feeling with the visitation of an "orb". Not so for Three Kiva; while the sun's rays give it brilliant light, no one is home.
My photos do not give the interior of the Kiva full justice; the workmanship is incredible, even the interlacing of the wooden beams of the roof. Unless you actually climb down into it, you will not get the full scope of it all.
|Niche behind lower right of ladder|
|Bench Hole, Reflector, Firepit|
|Foot Drum, Firepit|
Outside, walk around the back area for the living and/or storage rooms; you'll also see the opening for the ventilation shaft.
Going up around the other side, you will be walking over where Kiva #2 is buried and pass by, possibly, more storage bins.
Now, if you only read the pamphlet or most guidebook material of this area, this would be your final destination on Montezuma Canyon Road - CR 146. You would more than likely turn around and go back the way you came...no, wrong, don't do that! CR 146 goes all the way through to Route 191 and comes out only 5 miles from the Monticello Welcome Center. What I have written about so far: Browns Canyon Ruins, Perkins Road - CR 206, both sites of Rock Art on CR-146 and Three Kiva Ruins is just one option, that being coming up north on Route 191 and beginning in the Blanding area.
My next write ups (there will be two) will be of beginning at the Monticello Welcome Center, traveling south for those five miles and starting a most wonderful adventure down Montezuma Canyon Road. Again, beautiful landscape full of homesteads, houses built within sandstone hills, wineries, cave and cliff ruins, more rock art...you would miss it all if you didn't stay on this marvelous road. Stay tuned folks, this was only the appetizer sampler...