Deb is excited to be the first photo of the trip! Or maybe just that we didn't get a Hummer :)
Ben is trying to figure out how to reverse a Suburban
Mandy is a little skeptical of the whole thing.
Ahh, the trademark Bryan tongue.
Right outside of Albuquerque, on the way to the Jemez Mountains.
Cool view of a small town along the way.
We thought this was the most beautiful thing ever...turns out it's not even close!
The characteristic red cliffs of the southwest.
Bryan slept through most of it :)
And the landscape begins to change!
I am so jealous of this house!
My first attempt at panning the camera...pretty cool, huh?
WILD. Look at the vertical shale cliffs. They're wild.
And a closeup.
It looks like a monster!
Speaking of monsters...this is the Soda Dam, a warm water mineral waterfall.
Deb & Ben at Soda Dam
Woo, perspective! Deb at Soda Dam.
Deb gives a mysterious eye to the camera.
Benjie investigates the ground.
Neato mineral formations!
And now I begin my obsession with the very awesome ice formation, which had running water beneath the crystals (the bubbles are where the water is flowing).
On our way out I was a little startled by a “snake”...
...made of nails!
This is the crater formed after a giant volcano exploded more than 100 million years ago.
Swiss cheese tuff - a volcanic sandstone that the Ancestors of the Pueblo lived in.
Our first glimpses of Bandelier National Monument
Everyone is very curious about the cliff dwellers, as Deb teaches us about their history from the trail guide.
The wall of a kiva...basically an underground hotbox where religious ceremonies and other community events took place.,
Ha! Bet you can't spot the cliff dwellings...that's their magic!
The community was this tiny group of small, small rooms - like 6x6 or smaller. You would enter through the roof.
Look! There are some!
You can barely see the holes in the cliff, in the center of the picture.
A closeup of the holes in the tuff, made by wind and weather over thousands of years.
Mandy is impressed!
This is what the holes look like, super close.
A look down at the village...you can see the kiva in the middle (there were three) and the circlular arrangement of rooms/homes around them.
We got to climb up the ladder into one of the dwellings!!
Mandy peers out the dwelling entry.
And away she goes!
They would walk up super-narrow paths winding through these rocks, to get to the ladders for their dwellings.
More dwelling entries..the spaces inside are fairly small (like 4x6 or so).
vigas (wooden beams) peeking out from the entry room. This is an inaccurate reproduction, as the entry would have typically been through the roof instead of a wall.
Ben takes a closer look at the dwellings.
Gah! Evil Bandelier Monster will eat you!
Woo, Bryan made it up the ladder!
Teehee, Ben & Deb. You can see the blackened plaster roof, cured by fire for stability and strength.
As I said, very narrow pathways.
Bryan is checking email in Bandelier.
This chick climbed up to the middle of nowhere to sketch the holes.
Aaaah so cool!!! The rows of holes below the larger holes are from the vigas of the entry houses.
You can see a petroglyph!
Totally wild how they lived in the rocks. Almost totally disguised too!!
A closeup of how the houses might have looked, with their rock hideaways too.
Crazy wierd cactus flowers.
cutest picture ever!!!!
See the dwellings in the base? Coooool.
Ceremonial Cave (which we weren't allowed to climb up to).
Hmmm you can sort of see how I'm doing with focusing manually....not too hot :)
The first ladder. Which is frozen to the rocks.
Deb slipped! Ooops!
Bryan's astonished at the 100 different margaritas at Maria's!
Mandy's birthday dinner!
We are tired, but happy, after our first day. Or maybe that's just Maria's margaritas speaking.
Our amazing food and fry bread!
Mandy blows out her birthday candle! While angry lady with crazy child looks on.