Monday, February 11, 2013


November 20, 2012

After lunch we hung around the camper for a short while then grabbed the camera and headed to the Three Sisters side of the Petroglyph National Monument to climb a volcano.

When in Albuquerque in 2008 we had visited the Rinconada Canyon Petroglyphs section of this national monument and had really enjoyed hiking the canyon to see how many petroglyphs we could spot. 

If you aren’t familiar with petroglyphs they are rock engravings done by early man by scraping, or carving into the rocks.  If you have ever watched “Ancient Aliens” on various television stations or the computer you are familiar with the ‘artwork” they refer to as depictions of the aliens, similar to the photos at the right.   Whether or not you believe in aliens the artwork is interesting to look at.  Rinconada Canyon  is one of the best places we have found in our travels so far throughout the US to view an abundance of such drawings.

These drawings are not to be confused with rune stones such as what is found in Heavner, Poteau, and Shawnee Oklahoma Which we have visited in the past. 

The Petroglyphs are pictures, while the rune stones are writings.

The best part about the Rinconada Canyon Petroglyphs, is you can get right up to them and truly study them.  In many parks they are behind barriers.  They are so plentiful in this volcanic field that you could hike for over a day and not see them all. The canyon is 2.49 miles of fairly easy hiking on sandy soil if you do not climb the rocks to look at the higher up petroglyphs. 

There is plenty worth photographing in this canyon, so I recommend you make sure your batteries in your camera or cell phone are fully charged and you have a lot of space on your storage device.

In 2008 we hiked the entire length of the canyon for most of a day and saw thousands of petroglyphs.  The park has free entry, but they request you be out of it by dark. 

During that hike we lost track of time and by the time we reached the back of the canyon the sun was setting fast.  We walked slowly back to the exit due to being very tired by this time until…

Coyotes started howling very close by and getting closer by the second. Then for some strange reason we had more pep in our step and found that by walking straight down the path we could exit the canyon fairly quickly. I'm sure the coyotes were snickering at us as we scurried out of the canyon just behind the rabbits that were running for their lives.

Since we were already hiked the canyon previously we decided on that day to go to the other side of the park and climb one of the volcanoes and look for the petroglyphs on that side. 

In 2008 we had tried to visit the three volcanoes of the PetroglyphNational Park but had discovered that they were working on the road and parking area and we were unable to enter this side of the free park at that time.

The park is not very far from our campground, but due to the lateness of our getting started on this part of our visit we decided to only hike to the closest of the three volcanoes, the Black Volcano. 

The hike is of moderate stress level to walk until you get actually to the dormant volcano, but the last bit of climbing up the volcano itself can be a bit of a strain for some of us older overweight folks. 

While we enjoyed the hike both there and back we did not make it all the way to the top.  Near the top of the volcano I ran into a section of rock that was too tall for me to scale and feel safe in doing so.  While younger folks scampered past us with no difficulty I simply could not get up on that rock. So we satisfied ourselves with sitting on the rocks near the top and taking photos of the scenery.  Then started our hike back out of the park. 

The day was unusually warm, so by the time we reached the truck we had both drained our water bottles and were anxious for the truck’s excellent air conditioning. 

Once we had cooled down a bit and drank a second bottle of water we decided to have dessert first and dinner later so it was off to get fuel and a hot fudge sundae.  Hey we are on vacation right?

Back at the camper I fixed Sausage and Peppers for dinner then we spent the remainder of the evening on our computers and relaxing. 

We discussed staying another day at Albuquerque, but the confusing forecast of 65 degrees with SNOW made us think that perhaps we would be better off leaving the next morning. 65 and snow? And I thought Oklahoma had some weird forecasts.

So it was to bed fairly early after tidying up the camper to prepare for the next day’s departure.

Jan who enjoyed her hike far more than the drive through Old Town in Albuquerque, NM.



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