Monday, March 12, 2012

Field Trip: Petroglyph National Monument

Sunday afternoon, the weather was just so perfect (sunny, high-50s and no wind), I was desperate to get outside and do something new and fun.  C had a whole plan to do some baking (bagels and banana muffins), so I offered to take some of the kids (who wanted to go) to burn some energy so he could focus on the baking.  Three of our kids went (S, Z and J) and our three oldest nieces came along.  The seven of us (including me) visited the Petroglyph National Monument right here in Albuquerque for the first time.

I won't tell you much about it, except what I fit into captions of the photos below.  Overall, we had an incredible day and got loads of exercise on the 2.5 mile hike.  Finding petroglyphs among the thousands of rocks became like a treasure hunt and each kid got really good at spotting them. 

Every once and a while, I try the less (writing) is more (interesting) approach.  This is one of those times.  Enjoy.

This is where the trail begins.  The kids said they want to take one of the shorter ones next time.  I didn't really research which trail was best before we went.  It was still fun even though the smallest legs were too tired before the hike was over.

Full of energy at the start!

There were probably a fifty to one hundred petroglyphs of varying quality that we spotted on this hike.  They range in age from 200-700 years old according to the monument's online FAQ.  The sad part was that even though there are signs posted about not defacing the rocks at the monument, it looks like people have tried to make their own "newer" petroglyphs, which are usually much less interesting (i.e., P + J in a heart, etc.).  Often the graffiti was scratched thinly into the rock over something clearly more ancient.  Annoying that they'd want to ruin it for the rest of us.

We had a lot of fun trying to identify what the artist may have been depicting.  We saw a couple fish on different rocks, which baffled us all because of how far we were from any major water source.  Interesting!

There seemed to be several images of the human form and all were unique in appearance.

Some rocks had several petroglyphs all together.  These were some of my favorites to photograph.

We saw some wildlife on our hike, too.  Mostly birds and a couple caterpillars, but also this jackrabbit.  No rattlesnakes, thankfully!

Some were just so vibrant and clear and obvious.

Others raised a lot of questions.  When C saw this photo, he said, "It's easy to see why some people believe native people were brought here by aliens."

This was probably one of my favorites, but because of where the sun was at that time of the afternoon, I couldn't get a really great picture of it.  This depicted some large and small grazing animals (or some close and distant?) and the littlest girls in our group were so excited to talk about how someone drew mommy and daddy deer with baby deer.

At the halfway point, looking back towards where we started.

Z willingly gave N a piggyback ride for about the last 1/2 mile when she could barely go another step she was so tired (that's a long way for anyone, but especially if you're 4).  He's stronger and more energetic than I am!  Amazing.


  1. Wow, I'm impressed with Z's stamina! That was really nice of him.

  2. Wow, I've never heard of this place! How cool!

  3. Very interesting! I had never heard of this place either.

    That one petroglyph that looked like an alien, I wonder if that wasn't drawn more recently. Hmmm!?

    (I can see you still have snow on the mountains:)