May 15, 2010

Bandalier National Monument, New Mexico

After we left the Guadalupe Mountains, we headed west across some of the most boring arid flats we've ever seen in West Texas to El Paso. We stayed overnight in El Paso, were completely unimpressed, and had trouble finding a grocery store that did not sell Mexican products only. Juarez on the other side of the river was an amazingly poor city full of tin shacks. And, this was even before the drug cartels took over the city.
It was all so unimpressive, that I have no photos.

So, we moved onto northern New Mexico. We drove straight up I-25 to Albuquerque, about 4 hours I believe. We enjoyed our visit to Albuquerque, although I don't have any pictures. We walked around old town, visited the University of New Mexico, and had one of the best Mexican meals I can recall.

Then it was off to Los Alamos, home of the Manhattan Project and to Bandalier National Monument. This is a wonder National Park Unit tucked in a landscape of volcanic tuff (welded ash) canyon at around 7,000 feet. The cliffs are riddled with erosional holes and also contains ancient dwellings dating back 800-1000 years.

We hiked around visited the troglodite cave-like dwelling of the puebloan peoples who lived there. There were some high up that would require ladders, while others had steps built to them. There was a flat area at the bottom of the canyon near the creek they used for farming.

In addition to the cave-dwellings in the rocks, there were village homes built at the bottom of the canyon.

From the site, the Frijoles Trail leads you along the stream down toward the Rio Grande River at the bottom

Cottonwoods in the Frijoles Canyon with the confluence with the Rio Grande in distance

Frijoles Falls

Rio Grande at the end of the trail

The view back up the canyon from the river

There is also an isolated unit of Bandalier a few miles away called Tsankawi Ruins located on an isolated mesa with a view across the valley and toward the Rockies.

Climbing a ladder to get to the ruins and petroglyphs at the top of the mesa

Tsankawi Ruins Petroglyphs

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These caves are not "troglodite-like dwellings--they were accessed from inside or from the roof of an adobe house built against the cliff. In the photographs, rows of holes are visible where the roof beams were braced into the stone. A bit small by modern standards, but otherwise enviable condominiums.