Friday, June 14, 2013

New Mexico Vacation, Day Six--Hiking and Dancing

We had a much needed slower day today. In the morning, we drove northeast of Santa Fe to Hyde Memorial State Park for a little hiking. The weather was cool at the higher elevations (8,000-10,000') and the trail was deserted except for us. A perfect way to spend the morning. And while the hike was great, the real treat was when we saw a prairie dog town on the side of the road. The only other time we had seen prairie dogs was at the zoo.

For the afternoon we drove back to Albuquerque where we visited the Indian Cultural Center. The Center is run by the nineteen pueblos (Indian communities) that are in New Mexico and had both cultural and historic exhibits. The exhibits were interesting for us because they brought together some of the other things we had seen during the rest of the trip. They also gave us pause to think because they  presented history from the Native American viewpoint instead of the New World settler's one. I also enjoyed reading the native legends and especially liked the one about the creator who said since man couldn't get along, he would give them different languages. That way they couldn't argue.

As we arrived at our hotel, the rain fell again. This time it came with 1/2 " hail, but was welcome all the same. Most of this week has been a very hot and dusty one. Now to find some place for dinner where I'm sure that Ward will want to have one last carne avodado burrito. I think he has already had five this week.

Here are a few pictures from today. Until next time...

View from Hyde Park Road

Hiking on Circle Trail

Prairie Dog Town. Notice the prairie dog in the back doing the classic pose of popping up from a hole.

At the Cultural Center, we saw dancers from the Zuni Pueblo.

New Mexico Vacation, Day Five--Bandelier and Downtown Santa Fe

Once again trying to beat the heat, we went to Bandelier National Monument in the morning.  Bandelier has remnants of an ancestral Pueblo community with pueblos and cliff dwellings. We got there early enough that we were able to drive into the park and not ride the shuttle with lots of other hot, sweaty people. Also a good move because paths along the cliffs were rather narrow at times and would have been difficult to maneuver with many other people around.

Then we headed back to Santa Fe for a look around downtown. There we visited the Palace of the Governors which was built in 1610 and is one of the oldest public buildings around. Today it holds historical exhibits and is part of the New Mexico History Museum. One of the things that struck me while touring it was that New Mexico was being settled at the same time as Jamestown, Virginia. Having lived in the east most of my life, I thought that Jamestown was the beginning of all European entrance into our country - how Eastocentric. The museum was also hosting a very interesting exhibit on cowboys. What a hard and boring job at times.

A bit more walking took us to the San Miguel Mission Church. Another really old church (1610) that has been operating forever. It had closed earlier in the day, but that didn't matter. A miracle occurred while we were there. We felt rain! The wind stirred up and a few big drops fell! This was the beginning of a break in the weather to cooler temperatures. Yea! We hope it lasts.

Here are a few pictures from today's sights. Until next time...

Wildlife around Bandelier. It seemed as if we saw a lizard every 10 feet.

Remnants of a kiva--central meeting place. Kivas were large stone lined pits in the ground covered with timbers and dirt.

Ward climbing up into a cave room. These were carved into the cliff which is made from tuff--a soft volcanic rock.

On the drive back to Santa Fe, we saw many eroded mesas like this one.

Palace of the Governors. Besides its historic significance, it is known for the native craftsmen who line up to sell their wares.

San Miguel Misson--the oldest active church in the US and the one that brought us rain.