This year my son Eric asked me what I’d like to do for Mother’s Day. After thinking about it a bit I decided that I’d like to go to Bandelier National Monument, a beautiful area in the Jemez Mountains with spectacular Ancestral Pueblo ruins, wildlife and birding.
We arrived at Frijoles Canyon rather late on a lovely Sunday morning. We were delighted to see that the main complex, which consists of a beautifully preserved and restored grouping of Pueblo Revival-style buildings constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930′s, had been re-opened.
Eric and I spent some time in the museum area of the Visitor’s Center, and we missed the Grace’s Warbler that Bosque Bill saw in the lower parking lot. Here is Bosque Bill’s lovely photo of the Grace’s Warbler collecting nesting material:
We decided to enjoy our picnic lunch before setting out on the walk to the cliff dwellings and the nature trail. As we began our early lunch we noticed that we were not alone.
There are many Ancestral Pueblo ruins to see along the ruins trail. Eric ran on ahead so that he could set up his tripod to take some HDR photos while Bosque Bill and I proceeded at a more leisurely pace.
Cavates, or spaces carved from the volcanic tuff of the canyon wall by the Ancestral Pueblo people, served as their dwellings, kivas, and storage sites.
Talus House was reconstructed in 1920. Similar talus houses, built from rock debris at the bottom of the cliff, used to be in front of the other cavates. In some of the photos you can see depressions in the rock face where support beams were placed.
As we began walking along the Nature Trail, we looked carefully in the underbrush, hoping to see a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake as we did last summer at this same park, but we were unsuccessful. This is a photo of the one that I saw last summer:
We did, however, see lizards.
I really liked this Western Fence Lizard.
We did not walk over to Alcove house, which is quite impressive, because my knee was really starting to hurt. Here is a photo taken by my late husband on a trip to Bandelier several years ago. You can climb up the ladders and enter the cave. There is a lovely large kiva inside the cave.
In Part II of A Trip to Bandelier National Monument there will be birds, butterflies and a few more critters. Stay tuned.