Southwest Discovery ECS | Bandelier National Monument
For our fourth day in New Mexico, we traveled to Los Alamos to visit Bandelier National Monument. The monument is known for its petroglyphs and ancestral ruins that were once inhabited by the Ancient Pueblo people. As we embarked on our two mile hike through the desert, we searched for ancient pottery shards in a field and ended up finding some really impressively preserved pieces. We then began a loop-style trail that took us on a tour of the gorgeous cliffs and unique caves that were once carved out and lived in by the Ancient Puebloans. One of the images that really stuck in my mind was climbing up a narrow and steep carved path to find a small opening that led to a very large cave. Once inside the cave, I found a circle of stones that seemed to have been a fireplace. Looking up inside the cave, I found that the entire ceiling was stained with the remnants of smoke and, in some places, decorated with small carvings and/or pictures. This experience and the hike in general I think definitely opened up our group’s eyes to how amazing this culture’s ancestors were.
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