Our jaunt today took us north-west of Santa Fe into some very scenic countryside. Our first stop was at White Rock where there was an overlook into a White Rock Canyon and the Rio Grande.
Bandelier National Monument is a 33,677-acre National Monument north of Santa Fe with preserved homes and territory of the Ancestral Pueblo People. Most of the pueblo structures date to two eras, in total from 1150 to 1600 CE. The setting in Frijoles Canyon contains a number of ancestral pueblo homes, kivas (ceremonial structures), rock paintings, and petroglyphs. Some of the dwellings were rock structures built on the canyon floor; others were cavates produced by voids in the volcanic tuff of the canyon wall and carved out further by humans. A 1.2-mile trail runs along the valley floor with steps and ladders accessing some of the caves. Another trail extending beyond the main loop leads to Alcove House (formerly called Ceremonial Cave, and still so identified on some maps), a shelter cave produced by erosion of the soft rock and containing a small, reconstructed kiva is accessed by climbing ladders about 150 feet. Not for the faint-hearted, but well worth the effort.
We made a brief stop at Los Alamos and visited the historical museum there. A strange town with an erie feel to it.