Dust storms were new to me. From Bisti Badlands (link to related post), I ran to Farmington (not my kind of town) and on to Los Alamos (interesting town, home of a National Laboratory most famous for the atomic bomb used on Japan). Nearby I found Bandelier National Monument.
These are called cavates. According to NPS literature, “These cave rooms, classified as cavates (CAVE-eights) by Edgar Lee Hewett, an early archeologist, were dug out of the cliff wall. Even though the tuff is soft it would have been quite a task to carve them using only stone tools. Most cavates had stone rooms built in front of them. The lower walls of cavates were usually plastered and painted while the ceilings were smoke-blackened. Smoking the ceilings hardened the volcanic tuff and made it less crumbly.“
Of course I considered climbing the ladders a highlight. They used some neglected muscles. I met a 75+ year old who used a cane and was recovering from back surgery who not only hiked both the Main Loop and Alcove House trails but also climbed all the stairs and ladders.
Volcanic Tuff was a new geologic term for me. It was interesting learning about it. According to NPS literature, “The pink rock of the canyon wall may look like sandstone but it is actually volcanic ash that compacted over time into a soft, crumbly rock called tuff. Tuff is very easily eroded by the action of wind and rain. Some components of the tuff erode more easily than others. Over time the exposed rock takes on a “swiss cheese” appearance. Ancestral Pueblo people used tools to enlarge some of the small natural openings in the cliff face. The soft rock made excellent building material. Stone dwellings were constructed in front of these enlarged openings.”
- April 15, 2018
- Public showers are available at the Los Alamos Aquatic Center
- If interested in dispersed camping, ask for options at Visitor Center. There’s a tiny slice of forest land near Los Alamos.
- Important reminders that aren’t always observed
- Do your part to help with Leave No Trace