May 18 ~ Bandelier National Monument
Located 48 miles NW of Santa Fe, you can find another example of ancestral dwellings from the Ancient Pueblo People. There is evidence showing human activity at what is now called Bandelier National Monument dating back 10,000 years.
There is currently a mandatory free shuttle bus that takes you from the White Rock Visitors Center into the park. We even found out that they have $20/night RV parking here so decided “why not”.
Arriving just in time to catch a shuttle, we bounded out the door without hats, sunscreen, water or food. So, first thing upon arrival at the park, our priority was food and water. A small cafe is just to the side of the visitors center so we took a chance. Tim ordered a burger and me a fish taco.
They were out of bottled water, but we at least got a cup of water to down before heading off.
Unfortunately Tim got a reaction from his burger, so we were delayed a short while waiting for his system to calm down.
In the meantime we watched a brief film at the visitors center (narrated by Meryl Streep) and eventually embarked on a 1.2 mile loop trail, much of which was paved and wheelchair accessible. They have a booklet for $2 that provides information for a self-guided tour. They also have a few loaner copies on hand. There are also a FEW signs along the trail that give more information.
Just FYI, there are over 70 miles of trails in Bandelier if you are looking for something longer or more challenging. The rangers are happy to make recommendations.
Frijoles Creek runs through Frijoles Canyon and provided year-round water. Corn, beans and squash were grown and supplemented with hunting rabbit, deer and squirrel.
Tyuonyi, a large dwelling on the floor of the canyon, was inhabited at the same time as the dwellings built along the base of the cliff.
Talus homes were built up against the cliff from rock debris.
Two of the cliff dwellings had steep ladders in place for anyone who wanted to climb up and explore the inside.
The first one was quite tiny inside, roughly 6 feet in diameter. Tim and I fit in easily, but you would not want much company.
The second dwelling actually had several rooms. It was my favorite and we spent several minutes just sitting inside and enjoying the views.
A few more misc shots from here:
Upon completing our loop, we arrived back at the bus pick up point, just at the exact time a bus was pulling in. Our timing was impeccable.
Off to check out a restaurant just down the street called “Pig and Fig” for dinner.
UPDATE: The restaurant had closed early for a special event. Oh well, we got a bit more walking in. We had to settle for having some bean and sausage soup I made before we left.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we did not have to wait long for our shuttle, that the town has provided a large parking lot with handy hookups for RV’s for such a great rate, and that we have a home for the night while waiting for the wind to die down.