I’m new to this blogging thing and somehow managed to delete my pretty-much-finished blog post about Bandelier National Monument, and let me tell you, it was FANTASTIC! The best blog post ever. I mean it was HUGE! But, now I have to recreate it, and I’m sure this version will pale in comparison to the original. Sad for the world.
So – Bandelier – as I mentioned before (but I guess you didn’t read it….), after we left Santa Fe, heading to Taos, we took a detour at Bandelier National Monument. We are always up for a National Park Service site (because Junior Ranger badges are the best inventions ever – well, after dry shampoo, that is). We had been to a few in the Southwest that focused on Native Americans and where they lived before the Europeans came, but I have to say, this was one of the best! Highly recommended!
We had to park at a nearby city and take a 20-minute shuttle ride into the Monument, where the Ranger gave us some information about the park and set us loose. We headed right for the main trail. Not only does this site have large dwellings like the one below – which housed hundreds and had store rooms for food and livestock
they also built dwellings against the canyon wall. The wall is made up of volcanic tuff, which is soft and malleable (relatively speaking). So, these smart Pueblo people made holes in the wall to use as additional dwelling spaces called cavates. Many were simply additional rooms, but some were ceremonial spaces. We were able to climb into a few of these dwellings and see the inside, and view back out.
We visited a few of these dwellings, and even got to see a few faded petroglyphs in the walls, then headed to Alcove House, an elevated site located 140 feet above the canyon floor. To reach it, you have to climb stone stairs and four wooden ladders. Due to L’s strong dislike of heights (it was enough to get him up the small ladders), we decided that only C & A would go up to the Alcove House, and I would take pictures and hang out at the bottom with L and N.
After C & A made it back down to the canyon floor, we headed back to the visitor center, but first L insisted on stopping to do *extra* pages in his Junior Ranger book! He wanted to write about what kind of animal he would be if he lived there and what he would eat and where he would go in the winter. He was very excited about that!
After L finished imagining his life as a coyote, we headed to the Visitor Center for the boys to collect their Junior Ranger patches (they were a little bummed they weren’t badges, but they bravely soldiered on). We caught the shuttle back to our car and headed for Taos. I had been eagerly anticipating driving the scenic High Road to Taos. Did we take it? You will just have to wait for the next blog post to find out….