Visit to New Mexico in early May 2004

Introduction to Santa Fe
New Mexico - Part 1

General view of Santa Fe with background mountains
The Governors' Palace in the downtown Plaza

An ancient adobe dwelling in Santa Fe. In the cab going to the Museum Hill and to the wonderful Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, I passed by a large number of these on the Old Santa Fe Trail heading south-east out of town.

A door with artful carvings that no yankee artist had produced or corrupted

Our first hike in the desert around Santa Fe

40 miles south-west of Santa Fe
NLCS Coalition (National Landscape Conservation System)

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

"Cone-shaped rock formations form one of New Mexico's most unusual vistas, and the Monument's archeological sites reflect 4,000 years of human occupation.

Six to seven million years ago, volcanic eruptions spewed rock and ash-sometimes 400 feet thick-for hundreds of miles across the Pajarito Plateau. Wind and water wore into these deposits, creating canyons and arroyos that are today part of the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument."
- NLCS Coalition

"The Jemez Mountains are one of the largest volcanic fields in the world, where volcanoes began rising 13 million years ago, forming the pyroclastic tuffs of Bandelier National Monument and the unusual formations of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. Valles Caldera is at the heart of a huge volcano that once reached perhaps 30,000ft; you could see it from Texas, where pieces of it are still found. These volcanoes are dormant, not dead."

"Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument: "The real treat is Canyon Trail, an easy and spectacular 2-mile roundtrip, threading a narrow 30ft-tall canyon with walls so close together that you can touch both sides. The steep final leg climbs to a perfect vista overlooking the odd landscape." (Santa Fe and Taos - Lonely planet)

John is setting out on the Canyon Trail to the top of the Tent Rocks hill, a "spectacular 2-mile roundtrip".
On our way to the base of the desert-like path up to the top of the cliff, starting with the narrow canyon.

French friend Philippe et moi on our way to the narrow 30ft-tall canyon with walls so close you can touch both sides. The tent formations are behind and above us.

Close-up of the volcanic rock at this site - "this bizarre and beautiful geological formation of tent-shaped hoodoos".
  (Santa Fe and Taos - Lonely planet)

Further on in the narrow canyon
Philppe et moi once again

Close-up of tent formations
Millions of years of erosion

Siv lost in the midst of these extraordinary wonders of the world

Philippe, l'alpiniste, showing off in the narrow canyon

   A side view of the cliff we are going to climb

We are setting out on the climb up to the top of the cliff

Beautiful desert flowers on the way up the hill, possibly bitterweed. They also look like a yellow variation of Indian paintbrush - if such a flower exists.

Philippe with the top of the hill behind him, still on our way up.

View west over the wing of the cliff, the very top of the cliff on the left here.

View out over the snow-capped mountains far away

Orange flowers, probably Indian paintbrush. Not sure.

Another view from the top. A mesa to the left and the snow-capped sierras on the right in the background.

Fantastic view of the famous tents
Leaving the top of the cliff behind us now.

We are getting close to the narrow pass on our way back, leaving the 'tents' behind us.
Getting back to the narrow place in the canyon

Erosion in the side of the volcanic rock
A buzzard (?) flying low over the rocks as we are back to our starting point.

Go to New Mexico - Part 2

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