Sunday, September 20, 2015

Day 18: Bernalillo, New Mexico to Farmington, New Mexico via Petroglyphs National Monument and Aztec Ruin National Monument.

Today was not a rough hiking day.  It was an open day meaning that we really had no idea what we were doing except that we had to end up in Farmington. 

We were mellow getting up once again and started back towards Albuquerque and Petroglyph National Monument.  Petroglyph is actually four trails; three on the east side that contain petroglyphs, and one on the west side that is mainly volcanic.  The three trails on the east side are actually right next to subdivisions within Albuquerque, and yes, the city noise does make for a more subdued experience.  But we started on the least crowded and northern most trail, Piedras Marcadas Canyon, by about 7 a.m. and enjoyed it the most.  It had the least amount of people and you could get up close to many petroglyphs.  The middle trail, Boca Negra Canyon, also allowed for up-close-and-personal with the symbols but was more crowded and seemed to attract more of the city noise.  The most popular trail was the worst; Rinconada Canyon.  It was popular, hot, sandy, and you had a fence that kept you away from the rocks, thus the only we you could get a good view of the petroglyphs was using binoculars.  Done with our symbolic trails we headed north.

We were thinking Santa Fe today but Petroglyphs actually took up nearly five hours of our time, so off to Farmington we went.  Note to those wanting a really underrated drive; the views of the geology from Bernalillo to Bloomfield are excellent.  They are a combination of the Paria area in Vermillion Cliffs and the Waterpocket District of Capital Reef, just on a smaller scale.  We thought about taking the dirt trek out to Chaco Canyon today but the monsoon was already forming so we headed up to another urban National Monument; Aztec Ruins. 

I’ve got to admit, we were a bit disappointed when we arrived at Aztec Ruins in that it was basically in town.  We like rural.  We like “hard to get to.”  We like very few people.  But the ruins are fantastic, and the massive collection of rooms and Great Kivas got my wife and I really excited for Chaco Canyon tomorrow. 

Trails hiked:  Rinconada Canyon, Boca Negra Canyon,  Piedras Marcadas Canyon., Aztec Ruins.

Total Miles:  4.2

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