Friday, March 09, 2007

Tent Rocks

Yesterday a group of us went to Tent Rocks National Monument. It's in the Cochiti Pueblo on land managed by the BLM. The Cochiti name for it is Kasha-Katuwe, which means white cliffs.

Here's the only group shot of all the kids -- (l-r) Andy, Judson, Spencer, Dan (trying to escape the shot) and Sorscha. Sorsha in her flip-flops, was the only person more poorly shod for this outing than I was. Even Susan wore 'real' shoes!
Andy, just as we set out. I don't have any posed shots of Dan, given his dislike for photos -- but there is a nice picture of him farther down the blog.

We had two trail choices. I was pretty sure we'd chosen the Cave Loop -- the important part of that name, for me, being that it was supposed to be a loop, so none of the climbing ahead would be repeated. Later I would find I was mistaken. We had chosen the harder climb, up to the top.

The first very cool thing we saw was this tree with the great exposed roots. Perfect for scrambling up. Here you can see Sorsha, Spencer, Dan & Judson.

We hiked thru Slot Canyon, so named because the passage is like a slot. A long, winding, slot, with lots of rocks to climb over. Add in the three water bottles and three sweaters I was carrying and it was quite a climb!

An added bonus was the snow! We had record
snowfall in New Mexico this past winter, and in some places that never see the sun in the canyon, there's still some very tired-looking snow. It's pretty well-packed, but it's also beginning to melt, so small trickles of water were found almost everywhere once we were in Slot Canyon. As we came down later, there was more water, with long rivulets of melted snow. Had we waited until next week to come, it would have been a very muddy climb in many places.

Here's Dan heading thru the canyon. As I caught this shot, he was calling to me over his shoulder to hurry up. I replied that any group of climbers is only as fast as its slowest pack mule!

Here's the whole gang taking a break at about the midway point of the climb up. It was a spectacular day, with the most intensely blue sky, puffy clouds and just the right warm enough to climb comfortably.

A shot of my best hiking shoes.
They carried me the whole way, with plenty of traction, actually and only once or twice did I consider just taking them off and hiking barefoot!

This shot was about 3/4 of the way of our trip up. The sun was just behind the rock formation above us on the trail. It was just too beautiful to overlook.

The view from the top -- well as near to the top as Crystal, Linda & I got. The last step up to the top involved a log/step that was about chest high for me. Getting up was possible, but none of us was too sure about getting down in one piece! By this time, we'd figured out that there wasn't a loop here, we'd be coming back down the way we'd just climbed up. And I was done for by then.
Susan climbed to the top with the kids, because the kids had gone on ahead, and someone had to be there to be sure no one fell off the mountain!
The boys said I missed some great views from the very top and insisted we have to go back again with Gary -- and I have to promise we'll all climb all the way to the top.


Schuyler said...

Okay, I have to admit I'm commenting without reading the whole post, but, I LOVE TENT ROCKS! I went there when I was a new, young graduate student, coming from Nebraska and not yet acclimated to Albuquerque's mile above sea level. And I was with these guys who liked to pretend they were mountain goats. I ripped my jeans slidding down one of the slopes. And we went there when Simon wasn't quite toddling and he rode in the backpack on my back and played with my hair with his little, beautiful, fat baby hands. Oh, I wish we'd gone when we were in Albuquerque 2 years ago. Thanks for reminding me of Tent Rocks

DaikiniCrossroads ~Crystal~ said...

That was such a great day! You captured it beautifully. We need to remember to get 'family shots' for each other. When we were driving home I realized that I did not get one of Sorscha and I together.

We definitely need to go do the 'other loop' with Dave.

CYA at Patty's Day!