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Kasha-Katuwe and Bandelier
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This week we visited Kasha-Katuwe and Bandelier - two of our three favorite National Parks in New Mexico. (Carlsbad Caverns is the third). No sense in trying to use words; you'll understand why from these photos of our hikes.

Kasha-Katuwe National Monument

Kasha Katuwe

Entering a tent-rock wonderland

Kasha Katuwe

Kasha Katuwe

The trail includes an amazing slot canyon

Kasha Katuwe

Kasha Katuwe

Kasha Katuwe

Kasha Katuwe

I know - too many pictures, right? I had a hard time choosing....

Kasha Katuwe

Kasha Katuwe

Kasha Katuwe

Kasha Katuwe

What this tree could teach us about survival…

After that hike we camped at Cochiti Lake campground where a lovely couple from Michigan, approached us. "Are you by any chance The Frugal Shunpikers? We've been following your guides." Joe and Robin just retired and spent the winter RVing through Texas and New Mexico. We had a great visit that continued in the morning when...

At Cochiti Dam Recreation Area

They cooked up a hearty breakfast for us before our departure. Yum!

Bandelier National Monument

Natural erosion creates a Swiss-cheese effect of small caves in the steep rock walls of Bandelier's Frijoles Canyon. The ancestral Cochiti people used the existing caves as a base, then carved the soft sandstone, enlarged the openings, and added structures onto them to create their villages.

Bandelier

The "Swiss-cheese effect"

Bandelier National Park

The self-guided cliff dwellings trail let us explore several caves.

Bandelier National Park

Bandelier National Park

The caves and cliffs are all incorporated into the ground-level of the village.

Bandelier National Park

It's not a hike for those who have a fear of ladders

Bandelier National Park

Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument

In a separate section of Bandelier National Park, Tsankawi, we hiked my favorite trail. Here we are literally walking in the footsteps of the Ancestral Puelbo People - on the exact trail cut into the soft sandstone by their feet. Over time, in places the trail has been worn down to be hip-deep.

Kasha Katuwe

Tsankawi Trail

Tsankawi Trail

Tsankawi Trail

Pottery sherds are abundant near the village site.

Tsankawi Village

Ancient soot covers the ceilings of cave dwellings

Tsankawi Trail

Ladders now replace these ancient footholds in the walls

Jemez Mountains Scenic Drive

Between visiting these two parks, we drove the Jemez Mountains scenic route. The weather was less-than-perfect - cold and rainy on and off - but we enjoyed the drive (we had done it once before) and the weather gave us an excuse for some "down time".

Soda Dam

Soda Dam - it's just off the highway

Battleship Rock

Battleship Rock

Spence Hotsprings

One of the most scenic free hotsprings in the southwest

Jemez Mountains camping

Enjoying some down time

We are starting to plot our trip home and will be heading northeast soon. About this time on any extended trip I start to get homesick. I look forward to our reunion with family and friends but parks like Kasha-Katuwe and Bandelier remind us why we are here. Hiking their trails keeps the adventure in high gear.

Days on the road on current trip: 115
Total camping costs to date: $165.00

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Kasha-Katuwe is Bureau of Land Management 
Hi. Kasha-Katuwe National Monument is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, not the National Park Service.

Kasha-Katuwe 
I didn't think there were any national parks that haven't at least heard of, but this is a new one to me. Bandelier has been on my list for awhile but …

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