Sunday, July 6, 2014


We spent a morning at Bandelier National Monument, in the mountains north of Santa Fe. There we were able to explore some of the ruins left by the mysterious people referred to as the Anasazi. These people, probably ancestors of the current Pueblo Indians in the area, built houses in cliffs and canyons all over the Southwest and lived there for centuries before vanishing. At Bandelier, visitors can walk among the ruins and even climb inside some of the cave-like rooms carved into the rock. It is an interesting place to visit and particularly fun if you are a kid that likes to climb!

The houses blend into the landscape. Some were carved into the cliff and others were built of stone, often using the cliff face as the back of the house.

The houses on the ground are long gone, with just the foundations visible. But a few buildings have been recreated, to give visitors an idea of what they looked like.
A few of the rooms built into the cliff are open to visitors. You have to climb a ladder to them, just like the original inhabitants did!
The rooms were dark and empty, but the views outside were terrific!
It was interesting to see how the people who built this place used natural landscape in their architecture and how incredibly precise their building and stonework was. You can still see the holes carved into the cliff that once held the ends of roof beams on houses two and three stories tall.
The girls had a grand time skipping up and down paths, climbing ladders, and exploring.
Last summer, there was a terrible flood at Bandelier. Most of the Anasazi dwellings were not harmed, but camping areas, bridges, and ranger areas were destroyed and the visitor's center was damaged. The bridge across the river at the bottom of the canyon is a temporary one, made of planks. That just made it more of an adventure to cross!
The houses along the cliff were in desert terrain, surrounded by cactus and sagebrush. But along the river, there were towering pines and it felt like walking in the woods.
Bandelier was a fascinating place!


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