Day 958: Bandelier NM, Valles Caldera NP

Today my parents came by the RV and we headed up to Bandelier National Monument:

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We watched the visitor center film and then checked out the displays:

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Next we walked the trail that leads out to the dwellings:

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The naturally soft ash layer was used by Native Americans for housing.  They both lived in caves and in dwellings built against the cliff wall:

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We walked through and then onto a ledge above Tyuonyi Pueblo, built in the late 1300s and thought to have had several hundred residents:

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This model from the visitor center shows what the pueblo probably looked like when it was in use.  Rooms had no doors or windows.  All access was through holes in the roof:

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We followed this path up against the cliff face to view the caves in which some Indians lived:

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I climbed up into one of the caves:

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The kids and Bubbe came up too:

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This dwelling is called the Long House:

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The lines of holes in the cliff wall are sockets for floor and ceiling beams:

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The kids completed their Junior Ranger workbooks and received their patches.  M received the Deputy Ranger patch for his age group:

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B received the Junior Ranger patch:

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We continued west to visit Valles Caldera National Preserve, which preserves the Valles Caldera, a volcanic caldera almost 15 miles across.  The two eruptions that created the caldera ejected 500 times the material ejected by the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption.

We stopped at an overlook inside the south rim.  Looking north, the mountains in the distance are lava domes inside the caldera that were created by later eruptions.  The northern rim of the caldera isn’t even visible from here:

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We stopped by the visitor center:

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A map of the caldera.  The photos above showed the Valle Grande area of the caldera, which in in the lower right corner of the caldera:

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In a not to the preserve’s ranching past, the Junior Ranger program here is called Junior Cowhand, and the kids had to do a variety of activities including roping this horse:

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The kids handed in their worksheets and received their badges:

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Parting shots of the caldera:

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On our way back, we photographed Camel Rock.  I had thought that Camel Rock was only the toadstool-like formation, but I now see that the toadstool is the head of the camel and the hill to the left is the camel’s body:

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See the trip map for today’s drive.

Day 957: Touring Los Alamos
Day 959: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

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