I am sitting on hundreds—possibly thousands—of photos I want to share, print, do something with... so instead of starting at the beginning I decided to tackle the most recent ones, because, logic. Or lack thereof. But we went to one of the most unique places we've ever been on Labor Day, so it seems like a good start! Kasha-Katuwe National Monument (also known as Tent Rocks) is less than 60 miles from our house; because I am a good pseudo-New Mexican, I follow a bunch of great tourism bureau-type Instagram accounts and the minute a photo from this place popped up I knew we had to go. Unfortunately, everyone in the entire state who wasn't already at the Mountain West Brewers Fest had the same idea, but we managed among all the people without any major meltdowns, which is something of a victory for anyone who knows the Dillows.
This place is truly surreal. President Clinton established it as a national monument in 2001. The name "Kasha-Katuwe" means white cliffs in the Keresan langage of the Pueblo de Cochiti, the native American people whose pueblo is adjacent to the monument. The rocks were formed some 6-7 million years ago via volcanic eruption from the Jemez volcanic field. According to the BLM:
[The eruptions] left pumice, ash, and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Over time, wind and water eroded these deposits, creating canyons and arroyos, scooping holes in the rock, and contouring the ends of small, inward-leading ravines into smooth semi-circular features. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rocks vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet. Bands of gray are interspersed with beige and pink rock along the cliff faces.
Another way to put it: amazing.
We headed straight for the Slot Canyon trailhead, which is a winding trail through some very narrow, tall rocks—but later opens up into some fairly difficult rocky climbing before reaching the ridge. Bridget couldn't get enough of the climbing parts.
We learned the legend of Apache tears, which are tiny pieces of obsidian found everywhere along the trail. According to the legend, a group of Apache warriors ended up getting cornered without weapons on a ridge; instead of risking capture, they joined hands and jumped to their deaths. After learning what had happened, the Apache women's tears turned into these rocks. You can't take them out of the monument, so we took pictures instead.
It does us so much good to go exploring outside.