Year 3: Day Trip to Jemez and Bandelier
Date: Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Weather in New Mexico: No Change–Warm Days, Cool Nights, Lots of Wind
Location: Los Cerrillos, New Mexico

For our last full day in New Mexico, Justin and Jo really wanted us to travel with them a little west and then north up into the mountains. We were torn as Mark and I had wanted to get some things done for Justin and Jo and time has simply run out, but we decided to see the sights and leave the work for them to complete later. In the end, we were really glad that we did because the day was fantastic. We had to go south toward Albuquerque and then head west out through Indian Reservation country. Jemez is a reservation town and it was there that the terrain started to change. We first started seeing long mesas with a mix of red, tan, and white sand and rock. In Jemez, we got out and walked back among the red rock hills. It is spring here and the light green leaves on the trees in contrast with the red rock and white sand paints a beautiful picture. Going north from Jemez, we traveled higher into the mountains and started seeing mountain streams and tall pines. We were headed to another
hot spring high in the mountains. It required a walk up the mountain, but when we reached the springs the view made the hike worth it. We sat in the pool of hot water and soaked in the warmth and the view. There was a little cave we crawled into one at a time to enjoy the hotter water from the spring’s source.

After enjoying a relaxed time in the hot springs, we drove further north toward Los Alamos. This is the home of the Los Alamos National Lab, infamous for its development of the atomic bomb. Justin and Jo had visited there when they first moved to New Mexico, but we had no inclination to visit there today. Our goal was to get to the Bandelier National Park and walk among the cliffs that were the home of ancient Pueblo people who inhabited this region over 10,000 years ago. This required going over the top of the mountain and starting back down again toward Santa Fe. The views were stunning as we made our way to Bandelier. Once we reached the park, we spent a couple of hours walking through this amazing place. The park has installed ladders so you can climb up into the caves in the side of the cliff. I felt like a cliff swallow going in and out of the little openings that led to nice-sized rooms. On the lower levels you could see the openings from one room to another further back in the cliff, but the higher rooms were all single dwellings. Our final ascent was to climb a series of ladders and stone steps leading up to a dwelling about five stories high. By the time we reached the top, evening was coming on so it was time to head home. We drove down the mountain and back into the desert and headed for Los Cerrillos where Jo fixed dinner while Mark, Justin, and I worked on our website. Our goal is to get it updated before we leave tomorrow.

Late tomorrow afternoon we fly from Albuquerque to Los Angeles and at 10:30 PM we leave Los Angeles for Sydney, Australia. From Sydney we fly to Brisbane, spend the night in Brisbane, and on Sunday we take the train to Bundaberg. It will be good to get back to Windbird, but right now I’m struggling a bit with leaving. We always say that the only downside to world cruising is the fact that you can’t take your whole family with you. But we’ve still got a lot of world to travel before we get home, so I guess we might as well get back and get started!

080430 New Mexico–Jemez & Bandelier