Today we stepped away from The Hunt for Curly's Gold, sorry ...Forrest Fenn's gold, and just went somewhere we thought would be cool. We got up and out way later than we should have and started the 30-40 minute drive to White Rock, a small city just outside of Los Alamos. There is a visitor center there with a free shuttle that takes you out to the park. It is strongly encouraged you take the shuttle. They say it is mandatory, but you see other people out driving. I say that if they want to drive, they are welcome to it.
After a 10 mile or so drive in a large bus down narrow twisty roads with steep drops to one side, we arrived at the park visitor center. We decided to skip the little movie and try to see it on the way back, after we hiked and were hot and sweaty.
Bandelier National Monument is located in a canyon carved by a continuous creek. The geology of the are is volcanic with large bands of Tuff. This rock is very soft and natural cavities erode relatively quickly. With the presence of a reliable water source, (What's a little giardia among friends) easily excavated caves and abundant wildlife, it was easy to see why the indigenous people of the area settled and stayed for a long time. What is more difficult to see is why they left.
But leave they did. And they left behind a gorgeous canyon with some incredible archealogical remains. Since we had the kids, we took the less strenuous main loop trail and added a little extra on because they aren't regular kids, they are adventure kids. Some day they will appreciate it.
So, on with the pictures. You know, after I do an advisorial type blog post about photography, I went out in flat light and took less than spectacular photos of a beautiful place. Some lives are like that.
|Max walking along the ruins of one of the villages. You can see the holes in the cliff face behind. Many of those were turned into dwellings as you will see.|
|Of course the kids are going in. Even if the ladder had ended in a blank wall they would have climbed it.|
|Michael being goofy. Cute kid.|
|Put a cave at the top and you have Mommy's attention.|
|The village from above. The circle is the Kiva.|
|Max being goofy. They take turns.|
|Michael's turn! He is showing us how Satchel would like this room if we turned the cave into our house. How Satchel would make it up the ladder didn't come up.|
|As we were walking along the creek, a mule deer crept across the trial. It sat over there and waited. We peeked and saw the baby fawn that was trying to follow but was too scared.|
|In the end we had to creep past.|
|The holes were roof lines. This area is the long house where the residences were stacked much higher. Fascinating stuff.|