New Mexico 2016-12-29
After Santa Fe we headed to Bandelier National Monument. Here we learned about how there was a super volcano that exploded millions of years ago that was 600 times more powerful then the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980. The volcano collapsed on itself and turned into a caldera. It left 1000s of feet of volcanic ash that formed cliffs that were easy to sculpt into. This was taken advantage of by the native americans of the 1400s that built cave dwellings and took residence here.
Cliff Dwellings in the Volcanic Canyonside
Chambers in the Cliffs
The remnants of Tyuonyi Pueblo
Michelle navigating the cliffside.
Plant Diversity and Elevation
We decided to hike up Cerro Grande, the highest point in the Jemez Mountains. It offered a nice view of Valles Caldera. From there we tried to imagine this place as a giant volcano that imploded. What it looked like and what exactly it was that we were looking at... There were lots of canyons and flat clearings with peaks here and there. I guess it is so huge that it is difficult to grasp without an aerial view. I wonder what that would've been like to experience.
The View from Cerro Grande
Michelle at the top of Cerro Grande
Michelle Heading Back Down
We spent the following night in Old Town Albuquerque. We wandered around the shops, looked at some cool art, did light grafiti outside the San Felipe de Neri Church, hung out in the plaza for a little while and then went to sleep. It is strange and amazing gettting to essentially camp out in these urban places, ha. We love it.
Light Grafiti outside San Felipe de Neri Church
San Felipe de Neri Church
After Albuquerque we headed south to Las Cruces with a quick detour to check out White Sands National Monument. White Sands was really cool. The dunes expand forever and even have a backpacking route where you follow signs from dune to dune out into the middle of the place and can backcountry camp. The signs are essential as losing your bearing is extremely easy here.
Michelle @ White Sands
White Sands and Yucca Plants
Pristine White Sands
Michelle Walking up a Dune
Michelle in the Distance
White Sands with the Organ Mountains in the Background
Sprinter @ White Sands