Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bandelier National Monument ~ Hiking to the Rio Grande

Hi! More pictures from our Santa Fe vacation. Yesterday we drove up to the Bandelier National Monument. We loved the cliff dwellings and getting to actually climb up and look into the ancient homes. The scenery all around the park is unbelievably breathtaking.

Feeling adventurous, we made the five mile round trip journey down the canyon to the Rio Grande. It wasn't until we were well into our hike that I began to notice that there really weren't any other children on the trail. In addition, the other people we encountered seemed to have that experienced hiker way about them. You know, the wide brim hat, good boots and even nice store bought hiking sticks. We had none of these practical things.

The upper left hand picture shows the view from the start of our journey. The elevation is over 6,000 feet and we looked down at the yellowing leaves of the treetops. The next shot to the right is Frijoles Creek. We followed this down the canyon with the happy sounds of the water keeping us company. As we followed the trail, we actually crossed the creek 4 or 5 times. The kids enjoyed finding the perfect place to cross and the rocks that would get us to the other side.

The lower left photo shows a significant rock slide. I don't know when this happened, but our trail made a sharp turn and took us back over the Frijoles Creek to the other side of the canyon to get around this natural obstruction. This was also the hardest part of the hike. It was steep getting down to the creek and then after crossing, the path was not as clear. We even came upon a fence that made us wonder if we had taken a wrong turn. There was an opening that we could pass through so we decided it was probably to discourage animals. Still, we felt much more confident when we found a stack of meditation rocks left behind by another hiker.

Finally, I don't have to tell you that the last picture is of the Rio Grande River. We couldn't take too much time to enjoy it. The sun was already getting lower in the sky and we knew we had a long, tough hike back. I'm so proud of my kids for making the journey. They are 12 and 9 years old and this was a long day for them. We are all suffering from a little sunburn and weary feet and legs today. In return, pretty good bragging rights and a day filled with gorgeous views!

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