I'm happy to report I finished the climbing week by leading a 5.8 climb with no problem! It was a really good week of growth in climbing for both of us. Matthew ended by leading a 5.10a/b which I couldn't even climb. Having a boyfriend who is just a little better than me at climbing is a great motivator to improve. I'm a little competitive and it irks me to not climb at his level. At the end of the day I satisfy myself with the fact that I am better than me before.
Entrance to Sandia man cave
We had an interesting time in Albuquerque. The first day we drove to the Sandia man cave and did some exploring. A description from Wikipedia: First discovered and excavated in the 1930s, the site exhibits evidence of human use from 9,000 to 11,000 years ago... The site is open to the public, up a difficult half-mile trail. I find it amusing they described it as a difficult half mile trail since we ran the trail. We walked a little way down the cave and it just kept going! I kept trying to convince Matthew to turn around. This was my first time going into a cave that deep. I was worried about breathing in the dust, but Matthew, the experienced caver, said it was fine as long as we weren't crawling. It was a bit creepy walking in the dark unknown, but really cool too. In the end we didn't go all that far since we only had our cellphones for light and no proper equipment.
Just beyond what you can see in the first photo..
After we went in and crawled down for a little while.. gotta love the graffiti
This shows the spiral staircase to get to the entrance of the cave. We are continually wondering how they used to get to some of these places.
The next day we went to Petroglyph National Monument. They have around 20,000 petroglyphs created primarly by Native Americans, with a few by Spaniards. There are several trails you can walk to see them. First we watched an interesting video that conveniently glanced over the controversial stuff, but was otherwise good. Then we headed to the trail recommended by the ranger. It had about 500 petroglyphs for us to oohh and aaahh at. As it goes.. I had a mixed feeling of how cool it all was and how sad the reality of the past (and present) is. To exemplify this, some of the petroglyphs had bullet holes from being used as target practice.
I'm standing in front of what is very likely a metate, used for grinding things ie corn
There were many, I just thought this was especially cool looking
this is the one with the gun shot holes..
From there we decided to do something a little different and wandered the galleries of the Albuquerque Art and History museum. It was really fun to look at the different artwork and learn just how diverse Albuquerque is. They had several galleries displaying different things. A few I remember were the Southwest in Hollywood (I haven't seen most of the movies they mentioned), Youth photography (obviously angsty teenagers), Native American Modern art and the Albuquerque History section. It was fun and informative, I really like this city minus how crowded it is... and how 'city' it is, heh.
Unfortunately we started to have some car issues. Short version: It was a headache and we still have the same issue just not as bad... sigh.
Needing to wait on the car to get work done we had three days to kill. The first day we did a 14.4 mile hike along the La Luz trail. Obviously a popular trail as it was well worn and felt like we should just run it. We didn't. It was all well and good until the last 2 miles. They were tricky for two reasons, it got rougher from rocks and patches of snow, and the elevation at that point was around 9-10,000 feet (meaning difficulty breathing). Happy news is it's the highest I've hiked and although I slowed from having trouble catching my breath it felt good overall. We ended that day by going to the Pueblo Harvest cafe for all you can eat tacos and pizza, a beer and live music from a peruvian band doing cumbia/reggae style music.. doesn't get much closer to my roots than that!
about midway up the hike
On the way back down
It was only towards the end we remembered to take photos..
Pizza and tacos!
And even better, Beer!
We didn't want to drive too much not knowing what exactly was up with the car so the next two days we hung out at camp.
Matthew projecting in camp
The day we had the car worked on we ended up walking around Albuquerque, doing about 14 miles. On our way out the next morning, doing our good deed of the day, we helped a couple with car trouble. Driving along route 4 we went through Jemez Pueblo, stopped at Soda Dam for photos, did lunch at Battleship rock picnic area, hiked to Spence hot springs and jumped in for a short time, hiked to Jemez falls, ended up going to Bandelier National Monument browsing the museum, getting info then camping out for a very windy night.
Bad shot of Battleship rock, forgot to get the photo until we were driving away..oops
Spence hot springs! There was a mini cave (no photo, sorry) that we crawled into, it was much warmer and as rain came in we were sheltered and happy.
Following morning we did the main loop trail at Bandelier which is a walk in history learning about the Ancient Pueblo people that lived in cliff dwellings as well as stand alone structures. The cliff dwellings run along the southeast facing wall of the valley for at least a mile. It is believed the highest population was 500 people. They carved into the soft tuff but also built into them, you could see the horizontal row of holes from wood beams being used for a roof. There is a river that runs through the valley and it is a beautiful place, it was easy to see why they chose this location.
Shows the horizontal wholes from posts for the roofs and to make multiple levels
Alcove house, a cave that is 140 feet up
Inside one of the caves
View from inside the cave
Matthew demonstrating how they might have carved into the tuff
The next day we ended up doing an 18 mile hike around Bandelier, it was beautiful! We climbed in and out of Los Alamos Canyon twice along the route, it was tough but amazing. At one point we saw an un-excavated site called Yapashi. We also got a good view of the cliff dwelling from the top of the canyon on the opposite side. I was again surprised at how good I felt after that much mileage.
Someone has some serious cairn making skills
un-excavated Yapashi site
Ramen and cheese lunch with improvised utensils as we BOTH forgot them. They worked really well. I did a flat piece of wood and he went chopstick style.
Last mile of the trail with the cliff dwellings in the distance
The following morning we woke to some light snow. By the time we ate breakfast and were driving out we had full on heavy snow fall. Thankfully that day we were heading to Los Alamos to explore two museums, the Manhattan Project National Historic Park visitor center and the Bradbury Science museum. It was interesting to learn some more about the project, what it was like for the scientists and their families at the beginning. The Bradbury science museum was... a propaganda machine for the Los Alamos national lab. It went over the atomic bombs and what they are up to now. It was pretty obviously nationalistic. There was one area where they displayed two opposing views of dropping the bombs in Japan with a blank book for people to give their opinion. It was interesting to see what was written. I don't know... it was a hard choice to make and it did end the war, but it is also important to acknowledge the damage done to people both here (from testing) and in Japan.
We liked the little town of Los Alamos, it is in a beautiful setting. I am probably saying a lot how beautiful it is here, because it is. We then explored the ancient ruins of Tsankawi pueblo, it was a short 1.5 mile walk around a mesa, very cool. That evening we had our last meal in NM at the Rancho de Chimayo per the recommendation of a good friend. The food was amazing! We also were serenaded by two older gentlemen with a guitar and a trumpet, it was wonderful.
view from the mesa
remnants of the structures
pot shards and such... that they specifically asked people not to move or pile...deep sigh
There were many petroglyphs but this was the best, in my opinion
Sopapilla with carne, rice, beans and green chili
beans, posole, tamale, enchilada and adovada with red chili... drooling thinking about it
Today is our first day in Colorado. We are in Pagosa Springs and already falling in love. Tomorrow we are rock climbing and then... ?