Friday, July 5, 2013

Tent Rocks National Monument.

Yesterday there were a lot of people at the RV park.  We were sitting on the front porch of the office chatting with the owner.  HE asked if we had been to Tent Rocks National Monument.  WE hadn't even heard of the place.  He said it was very pretty and had some great hiking.  Check, check, we like those things.Sarah and I thought we should go see that.  I mean, he didn't say waterfall or anything, but it sounded cool. 

Later that evening, as we were watching the sunset and taking a 4th of July photo that I really like...

when a lady came up to take a picture and we started talking.  We mentioned we might try to go to Tent Rocks the next day and she said it was probably her favorite place on Earth.  Well, that settled it.

This morning we set off and drove.  The park is only around 30 miles south of Santa Fe and a little off I-25.  It took up around 40 minutes to get there.  There is a $5 fee for each car entry into the park.  Since it was a holiday weekend the place was packed.  I think we may have to return on a weekday after school starts early in the morning because the place is stunning.  Even working with relatively flat light I was still able to get some really good pictures. 

This is the park entrance, I love the golfball on a tee look at the top there.  Of course, the rock is probably bigger than our truck.

We walked through some relatively open and flat area on the way to the Canyon trail which is a 1.3 mile out and back trail leading to the top of a nearby mesa. 

Then the walk started getting more interesting.  The trail enters a narrow canyon strewn with boulders and the occasional ponderosa pine. 

It was neat, but the kids were still complaining and it was starting to get hot.

Believe it or not, they were complaining.

But as we got further into the canyon, it started to get narrow and required the use of all four limbs to get some places, even the kids thought it was cool. 

But the best was yet to come.  We continued winding through the shaded canyon until it really became a slot canyon.

Then the canyon opens back up for a bit. The hoodoo formations are awesome.

Then we start climbing our way out of the canyon.  The formations are immense. 

You can see some people in this next picture to give you a sense of the scale of the formations.

It is a pretty long climb up the canyon wall.  I think the total elevation gain on the hike is a little over 600 feet.  Some places require a little scrambling, but the path is very well maintained. 

At the crest, the view opens up and the wind dries the sweat of the climb. 

Up at the top I took the time to take some pictures of the Manzanita plants that just looked so cool. 

Then it was back down through the canyon.  Some things you only notice when you come through the other way.

Back out of the canyon we decided, much to the chagrin of the boys, that we would hike the Cave Loop trail instead of just going back to the truck.  It was a bit of a letdown.  This is the cave.

Even tired and footsore after a long hike, the boys managed to have some fun.

Michael being a frog under a toadstool 

 Now they are just being goofy.

Overall it was a spectacular hike and a wonderful day.  I hope we get to go back. 

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