In recognition of Crow Canyon's 25th anniversary, 23 friends sent in letters this year recalling good times with Crow Canyon! Each letter confirms that Crow Canyon has affected many lives—prompting career choices, reigniting lifetime interests, kindling new friendships, and creating lifelong memories. Your words validate our purpose and our mission. Everyone at Crow Canyon thanks each correspondent!
Following are the last of your letters. Both letters tell of unforgettable adventures in the Southwest and one letter, particularly, emphasizes some memorable jokes.
From Will Lipman
We had the great pleasure of spending a couple of days with Ricky Lightfoot on the Cedar Mesa trip. We set up camp at the end of Cigarette Springs Road, literally on the rim of Road Canyon. Most of us raised our tents away from the canyon’s edge, hoping to stay out of the wind. Ricky, however, waited until nightfall, then laid his sleeping bag down on a sandstone slab, overhanging the chasm; I couldn’t help but think of the Road Runner and Coyote cartoons!
At the campfire that night, Bill Huff recited his signature campfire story, Robert Service's "The Cremation of Sam McGee," setting a somber tone. Then Ricky chimed in with a campfire contribution: duck jokes! He seemed to have an endless supply of duck jokes. Ducks and chapstick, ducks and nails, ducks, ducks, ducks! I later learned that Ricky had worked on the 1995 Crow Canyon papers for the Duckfoot site. I have to wonder which came first!
. . . .so a duck walks into a pharmacy and asks the clerk for some chapstick. . . .the clerk asks, "How do you want to pay for this?" The duck replies, "Put it on my bill."
The next day, the duck returns to the pharmacy, and—well, the next part is not G-rated, so you'll have to ask Ricky to finish it for you!
From Teresa Muffoletto, RN
In July of 1993, I spent 10 wonderful days with Crow Canyon and 23 other participants in an adventure that I still love to tell others about. Our group's schedule included three days rafting and exploring ruins along the San Juan River from Bluff to Mexican Hat, Utah. Those three days were incredible. Besides the Crow Canyon staff, we were fortunate to have Dr. Linda Cordell, one of the Southwest's foremost archaeologists, along to teach and answer questions.
I had rapidly acquired a passion for archaeology as a little girl when my engineer father had introduced me to all the wonders that the prehistoric Native Americans had left behind as they migrated throughout the Southwest. However, in 1969 I was advised by a school counselor to go into nursing because, "You'll never be able to make a living at archaeology!" I continued to read about and study the prehistoric Southwest throughout my 20s and 30s. And in 1993, thanks to Crow Canyon, I found the chance to experience what I felt I had lost via my decision not to study archaeology.
For me, the Crow Canyon trip was a dream come true. The time on the river was incredible. We traveled back through time as we climbed through River House Ruin, tramped down the Chinle Wash (the Canyon of Many Ruins in Tony Hillerman's novel, A Thief of Time), marveled at the petroglyphs pecked into Butler Wash Panel, and listened to the story of Desecration Panel. Once off the river, we lounged under the cool cottonwood trees at the San Juan Inn and watched the river, far below us now, flow by.
From Mexican Hat, we traveled to Monument Valley where we visited Susie Yazzie's home, watched her weaving her magic, ate "Navahoagies" for lunch, and danced to the beat of a native drum under a cool ramada. Proceeding on to Canyon de Chelly, we learned that the "shake and bake" tour trucks were appropriately named, listened to the Navajo guides comedy-filled discussion of the many beautiful and mysterious ruins and rich history of the canyon, and delighted in the Navajo children selling handmade seed necklaces.
We proceeded onward to Mesa Verde where I loved telling other tourists about the Crow Canyon tour and how it made the experience so much richer. Then we headed to Crow Canyon itself. There we were taken to the Sand Canyon excavation, where I was delighted to be able to meet Dr. Bruce Bradley, archaeologist and world-class flintknapper, who was overseeing the work. I remember telling him that I had his video on flintknapping and he said, "Oh, so you're the one who bought it!"
The adventure seemed to be over too soon. The night before we left to go home we all met at the cantina in the Iron Horse Inn (where we were staying in Durango) and recounted our adventures on the trip.
Since that time I have moved to northern New Mexico from Louisiana and am working on my bachelor's degree in archaeology (while continuing to work as a nurse). I have also taken my family to every place that I visited with Crow Canyon. I would like to thank Crow Canyon for the inspiration that guided me back to my passion for archaeology and the dream of obtaining my degree. I now look forward to "playing in the dirt" instead of retiring.
I'd like to say "Hi" and "Thanks!" to Dr. Linda Cordell, Dr. Bruce Bradley, Randi (Crow Canyon), Jim (Crow Canyon), Dean (Professor of Archaeology, University of Denver), Len, Tamara (Wild Rivers), R.J. (geologist/boatman), Will, Morley, Dellis, Mary, Phillis, Tom, John (Momma Duck at Wild Rivers), and Gary (who graduated from my Alma Mater, Cleveland Heights High School). It was great. And thanks Crow Canyon for the chance to experience it in the first place!!