We left the southwestern desert and began our trip northward. Our first stop was Mimbres, NM. A small town nestled in the juniper mesas of New Mexico. We stayed near Roberts Lake which was home to some Great Blue Herons and Bufflehead ducks. After our first couple of days in the area we woke to a couple inches of fresh snow.
We spoke to the local sheriff and he directed us to some pictographs that are only known among the locals. A short hike up a wash lead us to several drawings on the rock walls. We couldn’t exactly tell what they used to make their drawings, however, we think it was either a red berry or blood from an animal. The drawings are quite faded but a few interesting images remain.
The following day, we made the drive to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. This a series of 5 alcoves that are connected. They were built by the Mogollon people between 1275 and 1300AD. Archeologists have identified 46 rooms in the 5 caves and they believe that 10-15 families occupied these rooms. the actual cliff was created by volcanic activity. The native people found this site a perfect fit. The Gila River flowed nearby to provide sufficient water and the wildlife that surrounded the cliffs provided an ample food source. Just like so many of the other cliff dwellings, there is little information as to why these dwellings were abandoned.
We continued on and made our way through Albuquerque and on to Santa Fe.
South of Santa Fe, we visited the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. As we made the drive out to the monument, we kept wondering where these rock formations could be among the forested mesas. We quickly realized that they pretty much appear out of nowhere.
The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000ft thick. These formations vary in height from a few feet to as tall as 90ft high. The colors of gray, beige and pink are a result of the uniform layering of the volcano. In addition to fascinating formations, wind and water has also formed canyons, arroyos and holes in the rocks.
As we hiked through the canyons and made our way to the top of the formations, the colors began to change from mainly gray to the beige and pink bands. Once on top, you have a great view of the tents with the Sangre De Cristo mountains in the background.