We headed to Bandelier National Monument with the intention of revisiting some places we had seen about 12 years ago. Upon arrival we learned that the monument is now closed to all auto traffic and one must take a shuttle from a town about 20 minutes away. That is difficult when we are lugging backpacks with art supplies, lap easels and chairs. We stopped at a Forest Service center by the shuttle lot and asked for alternatives. The ranger directed us to a small “backdoor” section of the monument that has direct access. Therefore, we ended up at Tsankawi.
Although steep rock scrambles along ancient pueblo paths and wood ladders on the cliffs deterred our seeing everything, the scenery was wonderful.
After hiking for an hour we returned to the car, gathered our supplies, and settled down to do some quick sketching.
We decided to return via the Rio Grande to Taos and then the high road back toward Santa Fe. This is a route we traveled several years ago. The Rio Grande gorge is stunning and the high road is a scenic route that tops out over 8,000 feet. Our only hitch was encountering an accident for which we waited 40 minutes among the pines.
Back to our condo and dinner by 7:00! More adventures tomorrow.