Continuing from my previous blog post of our weekend trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, we awoke Sunday morning to a bright sky with high clouds which muted everything a bit. After breakfast we packed up the car and headed to Bandelier National Monument. It didn’t seem like a very long drive, maybe 45 minutes or so from our bed and breakfast in Santa Fe.
The monument is an interesting place and has similarities to Mesa Verde, though the Tyuonyi Pueblo is definitely something I haven’t seen before. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. We pulled in to the main parking area, found a spot and bought a day pass in the Visitor Center. The terrain didn’t look to difficult but we put on some hiking boots/shoes just in case.
For a dollar you can buy a Main Loop Trail Guide for Frijoles Canyon which is where the main sites reside. The book is helpful little guide with numbers corresponding to markers along the trail.
First stop is the Big Kiva (KEE-vah) which is a whole in the ground lined by rock and apparently would have had some sort of wooden and earthen roof.
Next stop is the main attraction for me which is the ruins of the Tyuonyi Pueblo. Tyuonyi (QU-weh-nee) is the way it is pronounced, though it phonetic doesn’t seem to quite make sense. Tyuonyi had approximately 400 rooms but housed only 100 people which I thought seemed a little low, but some of teh lower rooms were used for grain storage. The canyon had an estimated 500 people living there in the late 1400s, which when I think about it is about the time Columbus made his way across the Atlantic. The Duomo in Florence, Italy was completed by this time.
After passing through the pueblo we headed towards the Cliff Dwelling Talus House. The park allows visitors to climb ladders and enter the rooms.
Between the Talous House and Long House we took a side trip up the Fey trail. This trail leads to the top of the mesa for some good views and also to a campground. I recommend hiking this trail. It isn’t too difficult, in my opinion, and offers some good views of the area and of the Tyuonyi Pueblo below.
Upon our return to the canyon floor we walked over to the Cliff Dwellings Long House. Take a little time to study the cliff walls. You’ll see these holes in the walls in lines and then you’ll be able to imagine the beams which went in there jutting out from the cliff walls which were used for the roof support. Then you’ll note that some of them were two stories tall. Upon closer inspection you’ll see that the interior back walls were smoothed out by the inhabitants, and you’ll also notice that there are petroglyphs on the cliff wall made by people who were standing on the roofs. One of the odd drawings, which I didn’t see, but was in the booklet, was that of a Macaw parrot. It is suspected that the people there traded with people much further south in Mexico.
We finished out tour by walking around the loop in the lower canyon and after visiting the book store we exited the park. We figured we might make our way to Taos, but as time wore on we realized we wouldn’t get there until shops were closing to we kept on traveling North on US 285 until we got to Alamosa, Colorado. I have been wanting to travel that stretch of road anyway so it worked out fine.
We stopped at a new brewery in Alamosa for dinner and a beer (San Luis Valley Brewing Company) and when leaving had a look at some locomotives in the rail yard. There were a lot of passenger cars as well. I can’t imagine what they’re doing with all of that equipment but it can’t be cheap to restore all of them. After a few photos we headed home.
The weather was about perfect for this time of year in New Mexico and it was a very nice trip.
Thanks for visiting my blog.