Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bandelier National Monument

Today we re-visited Bandelier National Monument
We felt a small hike was in order and Bandelier is an easy jaunt
not too far from Santa Fe, only about 45 minutes away. I was
really surprised how busy it was on a weekday. We were last
here in 1999 and had the place pretty much to ourselves. Don't
get me wrong, it wasn't anything like queing up at the South Rim
of the Grand Canyon or at Old Faithful in Yellowstone on a mid-July
day, but for a little-visited park, it seemed crowded...especially in
late October. Anyway, Bandelier is a great site for seeing a little bit
of everything about the Ancient Puebloan (Anasazi) people. There
is a fairly large traditional dwelling (pictured above) named Tyuonyi
on the canyon floor as well as Talus dwellings on the canyon walls,
although occupied at the same time, at least to me, seem almost
more reminiscent of the Mogollon culture as opposed to that of the

There are several places along the walls of Frijoles Canyon where
Petroglyphs are very visible to the naked eye. It really helps to have
morning light hitting the walls to make them as visible as possible.
Luckily they are high enough on the walls to make them less
susceptible to vandalism.

The most popular features of Bandelier are the remains of the Talus
cliff dwellings that are scattered along the northeast walls of Frijoles
Canyon. Most of them weren't occupied as just caves, but had small
dwellings (now long gone) attached to the front. The talus was formed
by the volcanic ash of several huge eruptions over a million years ago.
To this day, the talus is very soft and easy to work with.
Bandelier is a great place to spend at least a half day (more if possible)
and it's a nice escape from day to day urban life.

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