Bandelier National Monument

Day 8 - October 7, 2002

New Mexico Rv Trip: Our Trailmanor campsite at Bandelier National Monument Bandelier National Monument is a beautiful place with hiking trails, ruins and lots of quiet this time of year. The campground is mostly empty and we have our pick of sites. Unfortunately, we chose one that isnít level, but is beautiful so we jack up the back and lower the front and achieve equilibrium. Thereís a huge branching ponderosa pine at the front of the site which has given up a carpet of cones. At the back are junipers and gambel oak. Birds flit around and fly in and out - red-naped sapsucker, canyon towhee and gray vireo are all new ones for us.

After dinner, we sit to watch the stars come out. Suddenly the sky lights up like a huge strobe light, followed by a luminescent green tail. It breaks into two pieces and as it fades, gives off red sparks. Then itís gone. Shortly afterward, we hear a distant
Now that's a campsite!
rumbling which we think might be thunder. This is a meteor, the second one in as many nights in the same area. We are stunned by the realization of what we see and hear (the rumbling must have been itís landing). With so many wonderful experiences on this trip, I have no doubt that this sighting will be the most memorable.

Coyotes provide us with a marvelous chorus during the night. Perhaps they saw the meteor also.

Day 9 - October 8, 2002

We take a loop walk on the mesa to an overlook of the main ruins at the monument. Sage, pinon and juniper, cool air, blue, sunny skies.
New Mexico Rv Trip: Loop walk on the mesa at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Loop walk on the mesa at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Loop walk on the mesa at Bandelier National Monument
Loop walk on the mesa

New Mexico Rv Trip: Tarantula at Bandelier National Monument We have an encounter with a wonderful tarantula, that seems to be on a mission and will not stop to pose for the camera. Finally, Doug puts his foot in the path and the spider rears up long enough to be captured on film.

We go into Los Alamos for the afternoon to visit the Bradbury Science Museum, because several people told us it was very good and informative. It is informative; however, there was no balance in the presentation of the development of the atomic bomb and the results of its use.

Back at our campsite, it is an uneventful night. No meteors or coyotes!
Tarantula!

Day 10 - October 9, 2002

The Frey Trail is a two-mile trek from mesa to ruins. Doug drives down to the visitor center, parks the car, hikes up to get me, and then we hike back down. A wonderful trail, but Iím glad I only did it downhill!
New Mexico Rv Trip: Hike down the Jim Frey trail to the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Hike down the Jim Frey trail to the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Hike down the Jim Frey trail to the ruins at Bandelier National Monument
Hike down the Jim Frey trail to the ruins
New Mexico Rv Trip: Hike down the Jim Frey trail to the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Hike down the Jim Frey trail to the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Hike down the Jim Frey trail to the ruins at Bandelier National Monument
 
We take in the ruins before picking up the car.
New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument
Tour of the ruins
New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument
New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument
New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument New Mexico Rv Trip: Tour of the ruins at Bandelier National Monument
In the afternoon, we walk from the visitor center to Ceremonial Cave, which is high on a cliff. To view the ruins, you climb 140 feet of steps and ladders. I have had a fear of ladders most of my life, but was able to climb into some of the ruins we saw this morning and am convinced I could go to the cave. Once I see the ladders, I opt to sit and watch Doug. He is able to see the toe holds on the cliff where the original inhabitants climbed - he comments that would be a really fun way to climb up the cliff.
Later, we drive into White Rock to a park there that provides a panoramic view of the Rio Grande as it flows by. New Mexico Rv Trip: Rio Grande valley from White Rock overlook
Rio Grande valley

Day 11 - October 10, 2002

We hike the Falls Trail this morning. It begins near the visitor center and follows Frijoles Creek through a ponderosa forest and meanders down through tuff and basalt, crossing the creek four times past the Upper Falls, which drops 80 feet, and Lower Falls, a mere 45 feet.
New Mexico Rv Trip: Bandelier National Monument - Falls trail New Mexico Rv Trip: Bandelier National Monument - Falls trail New Mexico Rv Trip: Bandelier National Monument - Falls trail; upper falls New Mexico Rv Trip: Bandelier National Monument - Falls trail; lower falls
Along the Falls trail Upper falls Lower falls
New Mexico Rv Trip: Bandelier National Monument - Falls trail; Datura New Mexico Rv Trip: Bandelier National Monument - Falls trail; southern plateau lizard The trail ends in a bosque-like environment at the Rio Grande. There are many wildflowers still blooming, the highlight of which is the datura.
Datura Southern plateau lizard
In the afternoon we drove to Tsankawi, an unexcavated village on a mesa top that is part of the monument, but not within the main part.

The trail to the ruins follows grooves in the tuff that have worn down 5-6 inches through use, begun by the ancients who first lived there.
New Mexico Rv Trip: Bandelier National Monument - panarama view on the way to Tsankawi
View on the way to Tsankawi
New Mexico Rv Trip: Bandelier National Monument - Tsankawi ruins trail New Mexico Rv Trip: Bandelier National Monument - Petrolglyph at Tsankawi ruins I was able to climb two ladders without trepidation. Maybe next time Iíll be able to go to Ceremonial Cave.
Tsankawi ruins trail Petroglyph

Day 12 (final day) - October 11, 2002

Today we visited Ghost Ranch where Georgia OíKeefe spent summers and made famous in many of her paintings. Today it is a conference center run by the Presbyterian Church. There are many classes offered there and groups can stay and use the facilities. There is an organic garden which provides food for the dining room, two small museums-anthropology and paleontology, hiking trails and fantastic views.

We walked among the buildings and up onto the mesa overlooking the complex, viewed the museums, and enjoyed the beauty.
New Mexico Rv Trip: Ghost Ranch New Mexico Rv Trip: Ghost Ranch New Mexico Rv Trip: Ghost Ranch
Views from Ghost Ranch
New Mexico Rv Trip: Ghost Ranch
New Mexico Rv Trip: Ghost Ranch New Mexico Rv Trip: Ghost Ranch New Mexico Rv Trip: Ghost Ranch

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