"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Friday, September 29, 2017

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

This is one great Slot Canyon

With a sunrise like this, how could it not be a good day?
We stayed at the Corps of Engineers campground on Lake Cochiti near the Cochiti Pueblo which had electric and water hookups. Many people stay in Santa Fe and make a day trip to both Tent Rocks and Bandelier National Park. Lake Cochiti was just a couple of miles down the road from Tent Rocks making an early start much easier.
Arriving at the monument at 7am as they opened and the sun rising gave us the entire place to ourselves until we were leaving. We took the Cave Trail to the Slot Canyon Trail which is a 1.5  trek through the slot that finished with a 630 foot climb to the mesa top. The views were breathtaking. It was a nice 4.2 mile hike before things started heating up and the wind started blowing once again. This is one of our favorite slot canyon hikes so far.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks was designated a national monument for protection of these unique geological landscapes. It is know for its light colored, cone shaped formations that are the results of  eruptions from the Jemez volcanic field. It is located 35 miles south of Santa Fe and 52 miles north of Albuquerque.
Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks, and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet up to 90 feet.

The Park's care is shared between the BLM and Cochiti Pueblo.

It was difficult to chose which pictures to use so sit back and check it out. Or you can bypass it all together but why not just peruse the views. It was 1.5 miles long.

I should have brought those knee pads along.

Mike cleared the canyon for me.

We could see the sun rising above us as we walked through the canyon.

We made it to he top.
The Veterans' Memorial Scenic overlook was a 1 mile loop 3.5 miles down a rough road. It had the same views that we had at the top of the mesa. We decided against the drive.

I don't believe I have ever said "WOW" more on any hike before this one. Even with the whitish color of this desert instead of the usual red rocks we are used to, every corner brought a new eyeful.

It has been fun visiting some of the lesser known and visited National Parks and Monuments. We know how fortunate to be able to wander around learning so many things and seeing new places.
It has been fun visiting some of the lesser known and visited National Parks and Monuments.
There is so much more to see in this Jemez area when we return including a waterfall, hot springs and hikes.
We are staying put for a while will not be blogging much. I don't think anyone wants to hear about our visits to the grocery store. I am returning to the hospital in Mesa, AZ one or two days a week for the next few months. I thought I was ready to retire totally a year ago but found Banner Health had a great program for nurses to return for the winter season and leave for six months in the summer.

Mike will be working as a work camper starting in January for 3 months delivering beer, wine and food to the different resorts. 
We are in a condo while our trailer gets some maintenance done on it. This place is huge and echoes when we talk but much smaller than the house we used to own. I guess it is all just a matter of perspective. 
It has been fun to hear from our followers along the way and brightens our days. We aren't done yet (we hope), just taking a breather. I am sure the itch will hit again sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Bandelier National Monument

A walk through the past

We stopped to check out a little bit of New Mexico on our return to Arizona and got quite a treat. Our stop in Las Vegas, NM brought us to a campground that served green chili cheese burgers that were scrumptious.

We pulled into Juniper Campground in Bandelier National Monument near Santa Fe, NM with almost any site for us to chose from. There was plenty of  room for us and a few sites big enough for a big rig. It was so peaceful listening to the wind blow through the trees and birds singing after spending time in Colorado Springs that has gotten increasingly congested. We could just take a deep breath and relax.
The campground was dry camping and no internet. We were happy to hike and read our books for a few days.

As we walked through the canyon with Swiss cheese type holes in the walls, I expected Fred and Wilma Flintstone to walk out and yabba dabba do us at any moment.

Our first day after setting up, we took the shuttle to the visitors' center and hiked along Frijoles Creek to the Alcove House under the shade of the trees. It was afternoon and warming up but we climbed the 4 ladders and several sets of stairs to the Alcove.
The Pararito Plateau was formed more than a million years ago when the Jemez Volcano erupted. Two eruptions were six hundred times more powerful than the 1980 eruption of Mt St Helen. It ejected enough material to cover a 400 square mile are with volcanic ash up
to 1000 feet thick.

The average life expectancy of Ancestral Pueblo people was 35 years. Arthritis and bad teeth were common ailments. Childbirth was a dangerous process, taking many women's lives. Many children did not survive to adulthood.
We could see Petroglyphs along the homes.

After our hike through the ruins, we stopped for a snack while waiting for the shuttle to take us back up to the campground.
 There were tour groups with Rhode Scholars, Gate 1 and VBT. The VBT group were taken up to the same trail that we hiked down earlier that morning. Other than the tour groups, there weren't many people on the trails. This is one benefit to visiting the lesser known National Parks.
The next morning, we woke early and enjoyed the cool breezes as we walked down the Frey Trail at the campground down to the Pueblo area.

Before leaving on our last morning, we took a couple mile hike to the Tyuonyi Overlook.

The long house was three stories high.

The holes in the walls were carved in the soft tuff that was from the volcanic ash. The park service provided us with opportunities to climb up into a couple of the homes that had been preserved for this purpose.

Stone buildings were made in front of the caves after they were carved out.

We have not spent much time exploring New Mexico but see that there is plenty to do when we return.