National Geographic : 1897 Oct
THE ENCHANTED MESA fantastically carved sandstone cliffs. The summit of Mesa En cantada is visible for several miles ere the vale of Acoma is reached, and as one enters the valley proper he cannot fail to appreciate the wisdom displayed by the natives in the selection of the beautiful, grassy, mesa-dotted plain that has been their home for so many generations. The next day was spent in the village witnessing that curious anomaly of paganism intermixed with christianity, known as the Fiesta de San Estevan. On the morning of the 3d an early start was made for Mesa Encantada, which lies three miles northeast ward from the pueblo, just within the eastern boundary of the Acoma grant, in latitude 340 54' N., longitude 1070 34' W. The remainder of the forenoon was employed in making camp in the little grove of cedars at the base of the cleft near the south western corner of the height, in unpacking apparatus, and in de termining the altitude of the mesa above the western plain. The observations of Major Pradt show that the elevation of the foot of the great talus slope above the plain is at this point 33 feet, the apex of the talus 224 feet above the plain, and the top of the highest pinnacle on the summit of the mesa overlooking the cleft 431 feet* above the same datum. (P1. 32.) The start from camp was made at noon. The ascent of the talus, in which the potsherds had been observed in such considerable quantities two years previously, was made in a few minutes, the ladders, ropes, and photographic and surveying instruments being carried with some effort, since climbing, heavily laden, at an altitude of 6,000 feet, in a broiling sun, is no trifling labor; but the real work began when the beginning of the rocky slope of the cleft was reached. One member of the party, taking the lead, dragged the end of a rope to a convenient landing place, where a dwarf pifion finds sufficient nourishment from the storm-water and sand from above to eke out a precarious existence. Fastening the rope to the tree, the outfit was hauled up, and the other members of the party found a ready means of ascent. The next landing was several feet above, at the base of a rather steep pitch of about twelve feet. This wall, although somewhat difficult to scale, may be climbed with greater or less safety by the aid of several small holes in its face. These holes were doubtless made artificially,but as the narrow pathway at this point is now a drain * These elevations were determined trigonometrically by means of an engineers' transit, using a base-line of 660 feet measured opposite the cleft, the observations from the northern end of the line giving 430 feet and from the southern end 432 feet; mean, 431 feet.