Sunday, May 6, 2012

Petroglyph National Monument, NM…

Petroglyphs Natl Monument trail

OpuntiaPetroglyph National Monument is located just outside the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is a large park as it stretches 17 miles along the city’s western edge. The landscape is of a volcanic basalt escarpment that is dotted with four winged saltbush, sage, and cactus. Not only will you find petroglyphs here but the park also has five volcanic cones on its premises.

The petroglyphs can be found on the parks 3 distinct sites and are managed jointly by the National Park Service, the State of New Mexico and the city of Albuquerque. There are no admission fees in thef park. However there is a parking fee at the Boca Negra Unit ($1.00/car on weekdays; $2.00/car on weekends). We opted to hike the longer trail at 2.2 miles at the Rinconada Canyon unit.

Petroglyphs Natl Monument vandalismThe hike we took was only 2.2 miles round trip and as a result we didn’t even carry any water due to how short it was. The trail itself was pretty easy hiking except for several stretches of loose sand which made our forward progress much slower.

It makes for a nice walk as we went opposite the recommended route so we could get a nice one mile walk in before we hitPetroglyphs Natl Monument our first petroglyphs since they are mostly found along the rocky basaltic outcroppings on the edge of the escarpment. Once we started seeing petroglyphs it was exiting as we encountered several that appeared to be animals or people and some were what seemed to be symbolic symbols.

And then we saw it… Graffiti! Now why would anyone feel compelled to deface such a historical and symbolic piece of our American culture? It is simply tragic but an unfortunate circumstance of having such a beautiful park near the largest Scaled Quailcity in New Mexico. Unfortunately for us it made the rest of our walk less enjoyable as we found ourselves questioning which petroglyph was real and which was a fake. Some were obviously fake unless the native Americans who originally etched these artistic renderings saw a lot of smiley faces or aliens…

Oh well, at least we had a nice walk along a very historical basalt escarpment with  nice views of the Sandia Mountains to the east. We also enjoyed seeing the scaled quail, curve billed thrashers and listening to the ethereal sounds of the canyon wrens. All in all a good walk but not a place to see the Petroglyphs as there are many  better spots to do that and with much less vandalism…

I will leave you with this photograph below of a Scorpion Weed Phacelia integrifolia, a plant that was used medicinally by local native peoples. The powdered root or leaves are mixed with water and rubbed on sprains, swellings and rashes. I name the below picture “Persistence” as it somehow finds a way to eek out a living on the the face of a chunk of volcanic basalt…

Definition of persistence

11 comments:

  1. Just gotta wonder about people who feel the need to deface. If they are young I hope that at some point in their lives they look back and realize what they did was just plain stupid.

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  2. We were there last year and it is tragic when you see the graffiti. I like the blooms, didn't have any when we were there.

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  3. We had a wonderful day in that park. We spent several hours hiking and taking in the wonderful surroundings.

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  4. I had that same response when I was there. I was really angry that anyone would deface such a special place. You sure saw more birds than we did when we were there last year just a bit later than you.

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  5. It looks so much better than when we were there in Sept. Rain - a wonderful thing.

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  6. Yup, we wondered if the ancient graffiti was bored teenagers of that era who were waiting for supper to be caught or hiding out from their parents! LOL

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  7. I have always wanted to see petroglyphs. Sad to see them defaced, but your flower photo serves as a symbol of hope for mankind in general. You have a gift for seeing possibilities wherever you find yourself in the world.

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  8. I have always wanted to see petroglyphs. Sad to see them defaced, but your flower photo serves as a symbol of hope for mankind in general. You have a gift for seeing possibilities wherever you find yourself in the world.

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  9. I have always wanted to see petroglyphs. Sad to see them defaced, but your flower photo serves as a symbol of hope for mankind in general. You have a gift for seeing possibilities wherever you find yourself in the world.

    ReplyDelete