Oh the pueblos!

White Rock Travel Blog

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Before I begin I would just like to say that exploring new places can be very rewarding.  The experience alone opens you up to new ideas about cultures, people, and history.  Contributing to National Monuments, National Parks, and other historic venues creates a learning community.  Sharing these new experiences is what makes travelling amazing!

My friend and I decided, after much deliberation, to explore Bandalier National Monument.  It is located just a few miles from the town of White Rock.  The drive north from Santa Fe was a treat in itself!  The weather was gorgeous, one of the few comfortable days we had.  After arriving we slathered ourselves in sunscreen and bug spray, attached our hats and water bottled, gathered up the backpack and entered the visitor's center.

The condominium like pueblo structure
  The Park Ranger handed us a map, which is a very helpful item to have!  Look out trail here we come!

We decided to split "duties" before starting our trek, so I took over the photography (woohoo!) and she read the information pamphlet as we passed each marked site.  Since my friend and I are both extremely interested in social and public history this turned out to be a super fun day for us! 

Unfortunately, we did have to put up an overly loud, disruptive group that started about the same time.  We tried not to become annoyed, but it was difficult!  Later, we saw the same group of kids walking off of the trail and climbing parts of the pueblo that they shouldn't have been on.

an Anasazi painting
..particularly when the signs said "Stay on Trail."  Frustrating?  Yes, especially when you want the land to be preserved for future generations.  The lack of respect is, frankly, maddening!

Okay, that was off track a bit...no pun intended.  

The Park itself consists of signs of civilization that can be dated back 10,500 years to the nomadic hunters and gatherers.  The stone structures still stand, many of which were uncovered through archeological digs.  The cliff dwellings are fascinating!  Some go up several stories and the soot from ancient cooking fires can still be seen on the walls.  The homes had support structures and the holes for these can still be seen.

Looking up from the base of the cliff
  Ancient carvings are depicted on the cliffside...a few were inside the homes (and still in color!).  Each pueblo we entered had to be done by climbing a ladder.  Yes, it was sturdy!

The trail alone was beautiful, climbing back through the cliffside and into the valley.  A creek ran along the middle of the property. 

Before we knew it the weather turned iffy and we had to put on our second layer of clothing.  At one point we had to advise an older gentlemen against going back up the trail to get back to Headquarters.  He didn't realize the trail was in a circle...the second leg being much easier than the first!  We did our good deed by chasing after him to let him know the trail continued.  We hated to see the old man go back UP the hill when he had a hard time just coming down!  We felt better after that!

Instead of turning back to the visitor's center we continued along the trail.

  It was another mile before we came to the highest pueblos...140 feet into the cliffside.  Yes, we climbed...a lot.  This involved a series of 4 or 5 ladders to get that high.  My friend is not fond of ladders so I went first.  It wasn't so difficult getting up, but the coming down was another story!  The pueblos position was conducive to lots of wind and we were afraid the clouds were going to open up while we were trapped up there.  We weren't going to climb back down those ladders in the rain!  That's like a death wish!

Well, we made it up safely and I explored the caveside while my friend rested...facing away from the opening.  She showed concern when I stepped close to the edge, but I just wanted to look over the edge!  Heights aren't my thing, but really, how many times will I be up here?  Yeah, one!  I took a chance!

The foottrails from the ancient people could be seen worn into the rock.

The creek running near the cliffside
  It certainly wasn't the same trail we took!  The view alone was staggering!  It's amazing the way people used to live!  How did they do it?  Beats me, but it sure is unusual!

Negotiating the ladders a second time took a bit longer.  I coaxed my friend down because of her fear of ladders, but we eventually ended up on the ground safe and sound.  Walking the trail back to the visitor's center really was a load of fun.  We posed by rocks and trees...occasionally jumping off a few of them.  I took a picture of a rather large beetle crossing our path, one of the native land dwellers.  The trees were flowering and the weather really was perfect.  We took our time and enjoyed the great outdoors!  You can make anything fun if you want to, even an ordinary (if scenic) walking trail.

One of the infamous ladders

Upon our return we decided to go through the small museum.  It was here that the pueblos were set up with mannequins...making it easier to see how the native peoples lived from day to day.  It was small but informative.  It's a nice supplement to the real pueblos out on the trail.

Good times are waiting if you are able to make it out here.  Even if you don't like trails, you will still be blown away by the awesome scenery!


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The condominium like pueblo struct…
The condominium like pueblo struc…
an Anasazi painting
an Anasazi painting
Looking up from the base of the cl…
Looking up from the base of the c…
The creek running near the cliffsi…
The creek running near the cliffs…
One of the infamous ladders
One of the infamous ladders
The largest pueblo.
The largest pueblo.
Ladder/stair structure to the larg…
Ladder/stair structure to the lar…
A neighborhood beetle
A neighborhood beetle
A better look at the ladder struct…
A better look at the ladder struc…
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photo by: Amott08