Bandelier National Monument

On Tuesday, we decided to head to the north side of the Jemez Mountains to Bandelier National Monument.

The drive into the mountains was beautiful!

We arrived to a packed park in the early afternoon.

We finally found a parking spot and upon getting out of the car I noticed a little herd of deer!! They were all laying down taking their afternoon siesta. Unfortunately, another person noticed them too. He started walking towards them and scared them all away. Jerk! 😤

We spent some time at the visitor center learning about this park’s rich culture.

We then headed out onto the main loop trail. I was immediately disappointed because of the number of people. Throughout the park there are caves that you can climb a ladder up into. These are where the Pueblos once dwelled. Unfortunately, the wait to climb into them was about 10 minutes and people were a little pushy about it. Kayleigh and I attempted to make our way out in front of a large group and were rather successful. We finally landed on a cave and ladder that not too many were interested in! Pretty cool!

Walking along the ruins carved into the cliff face was pretty cool and offered some pretty great views of the valley.

Pueblos once populated the entire area and the ruins of their settlement can be seen throughout the park. Many of their homes were actually craved into the side of the cliff wall! There is a booklet the gives an overview of each area of interest. It is for sale in the visitor center for $2. We thought we didn’t need it — we were wrong. Buy the book!!!!

After we walked the main loop we decided to head to the alcove. Which is one of the sites the park is most famous for! The hike there was a quick half mile next to a little stream.

Once we got to the bottom of the alcove it was pretty amazing to see! Let me explain: the alcove is situated about 200 feet up a rock wall. In order to get to it one must climb a series of ladders attached to the rock wall. I was so excited to make this climb! It looked like it would be a little bit of a waiting game since there were quite a few crowds of people also wanting to make their way up. But luckily, the crowd seemed to thin out quite a bit when I was climbing!! Awesome!!

Can you see all the people? I also drew an arrow to the alcove!

Check out the ladders! So much fun!

The crowd I missed out on!

Kayleigh got some good photos of me climbing! Can you see me?! So cool!!!!

The views on the way up and at the top were pretty incredible!

The weather was perfect! The walk back to the car was lovely. The smell of pine trees, the sound of the running water of the stream, birds chirping and the sun shining down! Does life get better than this? I really don’t think so!

After our hike Kayleigh and I knew the only thing that could make this day more perfect (minus the crowds! Ha!) was a nice dark beer at a local brewery. So we made our way to Second Street Brewery at the Railyard! Pretty cool area! Definitely would recommend checking this place out!

“Life is good because I decided to make it that way.”

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