To complete the Santa Fe chapter this post will encompass three hikes in or very near Santa Fe proper. The first is Bandelier National Monument, part of the National Parks Service. In looking up the park's information in order to refresh my memory, I see that last year the park experienced flash floods and forest fires that limited visitation to certain areas. I do remember we had to wait for a thunderstorm to pass when we were there before they let us into the canyon and also that we were unable to hike to either of the falls due to floods that had happened earlier in the year we visited. Canyons can be very dangerous places to hike, not to mention establish a whole community.
Misleading in perspective, isn't it? That "cut" in the center is a huge canyon. You can see in the distance the storm rains.
Down in the cut once the weather cleared.
I can see by my hand position that I was scared climbing these stairs. The original inhabitants didn't have handrails. Fierce!
I'm a little Pueblo!
I fit really well into the "demo" houses.
In the background you can see the continuation of the trail along the settlement's remains.
These are Ponderosa pines, and while they are quite common in the west and southwest, it was on this trip that I learned their bark smells like vanilla. I was captivated by that.
As we neared the end of the trail, this mischievous Abert's squirrel started pelting us with juniper berries. Real funny, furball.
Since this post isn't really the place to explain the history of the area, you can read more here
and plan your next vacation!
Next we go to Bear Wallow, just a pretty little 4-mile loop.
This friendly flutterer kept landing on my backpack.
Normally a heavily-used trail, we didn't see anyone else. Or any bears, wallowing or otherwise.
Natural bridges are the best.
Lastly, we took a hike in the Santa Fe ski area.
Hard to believe that not long after this picture was taken, the snow would be higher than The Big Guy.
A gray jay begs a peanut.
11,000' the highest I've ever been.
It would be a lot more impressive if we hadn't started at 10,000'.
At the watering hole. Lucky 'munk. We had to carry our water!