Bob got up a little before me and had the camper nice and toasty by the time I got up. It was 53 this morning. We went to breakfast and returned to get ready for our day. We left at 10:00 and drove about 20 minutes to the Petroglyph National Monument established in 1990.
The American Indians consider the monument a sacred landscape. The monument contains 24,000 images pecked in stone–some are animals, people, crosses, and other symbols. These images are found on the east and south facing slopes of rocks. Archeologists estimate that the images were made 400-700 years ago by Native people. Some may be as much as 3000 years old. We picked up our map at the Visitor’s Center and drove the short distance to Boca Negra Canyon.
As we drove up to the parking area, a jack rabbit dodged across the road. Look at those ears!
As we walked, signs pointed out some of the local plants–the beautiful flowering cactus and this Sagebrush or Tumbleweed.
We started our ascent via a path and some stairs on the Mesa Point Trail. If you look closely you can see the workers painting railings at the top of the trail in this picture.
Signs reminded us to be aware of rattlesnakes….and we were! From about 1/2 way up the trail, we spotted a road runner on the trail. My visit to New Mexico is complete now that I’ve seen their state bird. Beep, beep!
We climbed to the top and the view of the canyon was awesome. Going up and down the same trail, we saw many different petroglyphs on the rocks, some that we missed going up. Petroglyphs were made by scraping off the oxidized dark, outer layer of the rock, revealing the white under-layer. It is thought that the Pueblos made the petroglyphs, but they could have been made by the earlier indigenous people. The Pueblos will not tell you what the symbols mean because they are sacred symbols to them.
The hike was fairly vertical and took about 30 minutes round trip. Once we got down, we moved the car to the next parking area for the second hike. This was the McCaw Trail, about 15 minutes long. We saw more really cool petroglyphs on this hike.
By now it was getting pretty warm, so we skipped the Cliff Base Hike and found more petroglyphs on the rocks from the car.
This is a really interesting park and I’m glad we came to check it out. From there, we drove down to Old Town Albuquerque.
We parked in a public lot that had a really interesting payment system. You put your money in the slot with the same number as your parking space and shove it through the slot with the tool provided. It’s on the honor system.
We walked through the opening welcoming us to Old Town.
We walked past lots of shops on our way to the plaza square.
Across from the square is the San Felipe de Negra Church.
The church was founded in 1706 and was beautiful inside. It is built in the shape of a cross with 5 ft. thick walls.
We walked through the church’s rose garden and then back around the plaza square. We poked around in a couple of shops and then decided to stop in at the Hacienda del Rio for something to drink.
We ended up having beers and nachos.
I bit into what I thought was a green pepper….and it was…..only the HOT kind. My mouth burned for quite awhile. On our way out of town, we saw this awesome sculpture of settlers moving into New Mexico.
We drove back to the campground after stopping for gas. When we got back, Bob had to take our propane tank to be filled and I gave Auggie a much-needed bath in the trailer’s shower. He was so dusty, but he smelled so good afterwards. I did a load of wash this afternoon. The campground was like a ghost town so no one was around and all the washers were available. We had leftovers for dinner and started to pack some things up for our departure tomorrow. We have really enjoyed our stay in New Mexico visiting Albuquerque and Santa Fe and getting a taste of the Southwest culture.