Sunday, September 15, 2019

Bandelier National Monument, NM…


Our last few days at Lake Abiquiu were quite relaxing. The natural beauty of the lake and the rock formations surrounding it caused me to have some internal reflection. I played a bit with the camera trying my hand at some Ansel Adams Black and White photos of the area. While I am no Ansel I was pleased with some of the photos I took.


Not far south of the lake near Los Alamos is Bandelier National Monument. It had been eons since we last visited while on a vacation long, long ago so we decided to return. We figured we would also visit Los Alamos after we toured Bandelier NM. Well when we got close to the National Monument we saw signs telling us that in order to visit the park we had to take the shuttle. Wow, last time we visited there certainly was no shuttle.


The shuttle is at the Visitor Center in White Rock about 15 minutes away from the park and it runs every 30 minutes this time of year. That meant that we surely would not be visiting Los Alamos this day since the trip to the park and back would take at least an hour, not counting wait time to catch the bus. Therefore we resigned ourselves to simply enjoying this park.


We toured the ruins along the most popular trail and then we went on to the Alcove house. This National Monument is really spectacular and many of the old pueblo structures remain in some form or another. Life along this stream and high on the cliffs must have been hard but at least they were in a beautiful place.


Speaking of the Alcove house those who are challenged by heights (like Sharon) and have a fear of them, this is not the trail to take. While the hike, or better yet CLIMB, to the Alcove house is short it is mostly vertical. There are four or five ladders to climb to reach high above the cliff where the Alcove house sits.


While it wasn’t a long distance to climb I certainly got quite winded before climbing the last ladder eventually to the Alcove house. What a nice view the former residents of this house must have enjoyed. The house sits inside a small cave and the arch of the cave frames a great view of the valley below. The worst part of the climb up to it and eventually back down cliff was how hot the ladder rungs were. Knowing I had to hold on to them meant my hands were a lot warmer than I would have liked.


Once back down I was glad I did it. Sharon meanwhile stayed down below because of her fear of heights. Although, I admit, she has become much more brave about heights that she was before we retired. While she stayed back she had a nice chat with another “height fearing” fellow who stayed back while his girlfriend climbed up to the ruin.


Our stay at Lake Abiquiu was great but it became time to move on to Chama NM for a quick stay and then on to Pagosa Springs Colorado…

NOTE: We are currently near Lake Vallecito CO and going to Mancos CO and then Cortez in a few days…


  1. There was a major wildfire near there when we wanted to visit ... to much smoke so we bypassed it. Sure looks like we missed a lot. But those ladders ....

  2. Must be a special place to see for sure.