A Trip to Bandelier National Monument, Part I

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:

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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.

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

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.

Kiva, Bandelier National Monument

Kiva, Bandelier National Monument

Interesting rock formation.

Interesting rock formation.

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.

Cravate with ladder access.

Cravate with ladder access.

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.

Talus House

Talus House

Talus House seen from the kiva.

Talus House seen from the kiva.

Long house, showing the construction in front of the cravates.

Long house, showing the construction in front of the cravates.

Looking up to the top of the cliff from Long House.

Looking up to the top of the cliff from Long House.

Preserved painting detail, Long House.

Preserved painting detail, Long House.

Common Raven's nest high in the cliffs.

Common Raven's nest high in the cliffs.

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:

Small Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Small Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

We did, however, see lizards.

Western Whiptail

Western Whiptail

I really liked this Western Fence Lizard.

Western Fence Lizard

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.

Alcove Houe

Alcove House

In Part II of A Trip to Bandelier National Monument there will be birds, butterflies and a few more critters. Stay tuned.

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12 Comments

Filed under Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico birds, New Mexico scenery

12 responses to “A Trip to Bandelier National Monument, Part I

  1. Great pictures, Linda. It looks like another place I’d like to visit. I’ll look forward to Part II. :-)

  2. Linda: Thank you for this wonderfully interesting post. I hope someday to make it out to New Mexico :D

  3. Awesome Mother’s Day excursion!! LOVE the photos Linda!!

  4. Thanks Bob, Beverly and Cathy. Bandelier is truly a beautiful place! I wish all of you could come to NM and go there with me!

  5. Donna M. Simonetti

    Looks like a wonderful trip. Bandelier is featured in this months New Mexico magazine. I like your photos better though.
    Nice shot Earl. :)
    Standing by for more!

    • Thanks Donna. It’s a really lovely mixture of Ancient Pueblo culture and wonderful wildlife. We should go sometime! And thanks for the compliment on Earl’s photo. :)

  6. What a lovely trip! My favorite images is the Grace’s Warbler.

  7. Fascinating post – what a lovely idea to go there for Mother’s Day – your photos are, as always, brilliant. Thanks for adding to my desire to visit New Mexico (along with a host of your other readers Linda) and see these wonders for myself. The photos of the birds are equally lovely.

  8. etramway

    I love the rattlesnake photo. Every time I get to see one up close and personal, I feel very lucky.

    • Thanks for your kind comment. I was very happy to see this little guy in the underbrush. People were looking at me as if I were crazy while I gently moved the vegetation aside so I could get a photo. :) I grew up with rattlesnakes, so I’m cautious of them but not afraid of them.

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