Unexpected Human Experiences Inspire

Posted August 30, 2023

“There’s no way a regular solo traveler like me could get myself to or find these places that are so obscure and out of the way. Almost everything we saw on the trip was a gift; it was wonderful to be able to visit these kinds of places,” shared Susan Markley, a retired marine scientist from Florida, about a Cultural Explorations trip she took in 2022.

The trip, “Indigenous People of the Four Corners: The Lands Between,” was one of three Cultural Explorations travel seminars hosted by Crow Canyon in 2022. Getting to hear and learn from Indigenous cultural specialists is one reason this trip was Susan’s ninth. “Knowledge experts like Donald Dawahongnewa and Ronald Wadsworth, Hopi scholars who were on the trip, and Dr. Mark Varien, help you see and understand things that you wouldn’t on your own as a traveler. Like a pile of rocks that’s really a shrine and considered a special place, so we need to be respectful,” explained Susan.

The 2022 Lands Between program took participants to sites representing different time periods, from rock art of the last hunter-gatherers, to winter solstice shrines created by the first Basketmaker II farmers, through Basketmaker, Pueblo, and Ute periods.

An unexpected experience along the way reiterated for Susan why she keeps signing up for trips like this: “We stopped to see one experimental plot of the Pueblo Farming Project, which Crow Canyon has been doing with the Hopi Nation. We went into an unirrigated bean field where Hopi farmers have planted heritage corn from ancient seeds using ancestral farming methods, ”shared Susan. “As we approached the plot, the corn was spectacularly tall and the Hopi scholars, who also helped advise the project, were so full of joy to see it. It was so life affirming to see this connection with corn manifest in happiness, joy, and excitement. Such a memorable and human experience that I wouldn’t have had on my own.”

Click here to learn more about Crow Canyon’s Cultural Explorations program

This story is from the 2022 Annual Report.