Friday, October 17, 2014


Bandelier in Autumn! It's beautiful! The main attraction here is the canyon site of a Pueblo cliff village, complete with cliff-side caves you can climb into, ruins of stone structures (including a huge meeting place that is a stone-lined circular hole in the ground!), and a replica of the houses that were built against the cliffs. Alcove House is a huge cave 140 feet above the canyon, which is only accessible by a combination of stone steps and four steep (really steep!) ladders. Coming down the ladders was harder than going up! There are also many short (under 5 mile) hikes that we've been doing, which take you to the top and around mesas, down into canyons, near a waterfall, and into a flat plain caldera (volcano) where elk herds roam (we didn't see any elk, unfortunately!).
The days have been gorgeous!
The steep Falls Trail to the upper falls - the trail beyond the falls was washed away in a flood in 2011

Upper Falls (80-foot drop) outlook. The sign at top left actually says "Danger - Do Not Throw Rocks"
A far shot of Upper Falls
This is the end of the trail down into the Valles Grande caldera

Pine cones, one group of about 20 groups of cones knocked down onto the trail by a squirrel. The squirrel screeched at us, protecting his hoard, until we passed by.

Ticked-off squirrel
 Today we hiked the Frijolito Loop Trail, that went up the far side of Frijolito Canyon (where the main Pueblo Village hikes are) and to a mesa where there is an unexcavated village. There we found dozens of pottery shards (dating back 700 years, according to the Park Ranger), three intact obsidian arrowheads, and three tarantulas!
An arrowhead in Darell's hand

Pottery shard

Another pottery shard

Yet one more pottery shard

These critters move quickly!

Tarantulas are really shy - this one tried to hide down this hole
From the Frijolito trail, you can see across the canyon, into the Alcove House - see the eeny-weeny people climbing up one of the steep ladders into the cave?
 And now some random flora and fauna, Bandelier-style:
Huge bee's bum in a hollyhock at the Bandelier Visitor's Center
Scarlet Penstemon blooming near the Frijolito Creek

A very tiny brown butterfly

A single bell-shaped flower in the Valles Grande caldera plains

A weed

Same weed, different angle

Not the same bee - taken a day later at the Visitor's Center. Okay, I guess it COULD be the same bee.

Butterfly taking off from the flower, the micro-second that I snapped this shot

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