Cliff Dwellings, Ice Cave, and Volcanoes in New Mexico
April 28, 2006
Here's another quick update from New Mexico. Yes I know I just uploaded a new update yesterday. But that was in the morning. A lot has happened since then.
Instead of sitting around waiting for our mail to arrive, we drove up to Los Alamos, NM to see the Bandelier National Monument. These were old Pueblo dwellings that were inhabited from the 1100's to the mid 1500's in the Frijoles Canyon. These dwellings were mostly built into the side of the steep mountain cliffs. There were some ruins on the flat section between the mountain and the river as well. We took the 2.5 mile round trip hike through the ruins which also included a 140 foot straight up climb using 4 ladders to the ceremonial cave and pithouse. It was amazing at how much cooler it was inside the cliff homes compared to outside.
When we arrived back at the campground, I went to the office. Our mail has finally arrived!!! Yea!!!
The next morning we headed west toward Arizona. Going down I-40 we came to one stop we almost forgot about. It was the the Bandera Volcano and Ice Cave. So we pulled off the exit and drove over. It was kinda neat in that there was a volcano which erupted many years ago. You can see where the lava flow created these tubes which hardened on the top. After the lava flow was over, the tops collapsed and it now looks like a river of rock. At one point there's a deep section where the lava rock keeps the ground insulated. The temperature never rises above 31 degrees. As rain and water flows down into this section it created an ice pool that is currently around 21 inches thick. Early settlers in the area had discovered this and used to mine the ice to keep things cool. I took some pictures, but it is really hard to grasp how it actually looked.
Afterwards we continued down I-40 into Arizona and arrived near the town of Windslow near the Meteor Crater. It was after 5pm and the park had already closed so we stayed at the campgrounds near the I-40 exit. I setup camp just in time to catch the sun setting on the desert.
I'll have more from Arizona in a few days.
See you soon,
Adam and Lucas completing their Junior Ranger worksheet.
An uprooted tree's root near the volcano.
Another tree growing up near the rim of the volcano.