When I got to the Visitor Center I noticed three miniature versions similar in appearance to the ruins I had seen the day before at Chaco Canyon.
There was also a sign indicating the name of the person who had designed and built these miniatures. When I went inside to show my Senior Pass and ID I was planning to ask if that person happened to work here, as I wanted to tell them how impressed I was with their work. Turns out the creator was the young man working behind the counter!
Meet Casey, a volunteer at the facility. He is contemplating his future (college, the Marines, and perhaps becoming a Park Ranger). He had a book on the local subject matter and was studying when there were no customers (he gives out maps and answers questions about the facility). I asked if I could take his picture for the blog and he happily agreed. Here he is out by the Welcome sign. If you look below the sign you’ll see the three miniatures shown above.
When we got back inside (there is no entrance fee, by the way, only fees for special permits like camping, wedding or commercial photography, etc) he showed me another miniature he created. The upper 1/4 (with grass thatching) would appear above ground level, whereas the remainder (below the black line seen on the left) would be below ground. I took another photo showing more of the interior but the camera decided to focus on the background and not the main object, so it is too fuzzy to post.
Casey also showed me another item he made. This is part of a part of moccasins, made with native grasses, which is what would have been worn here back in the day.
Casey is very talented and I think he will do well, regardless of which career path he chooses. I told him he should get a job with a TV or movie studio creating miniatures for use in filming.