I didn't do very much this weekend, but I looked through my scrapbooks from 2007-present and realized I've been to some great places these past six years. I've blogged about most of the trips during my blogging history, but there were quite a few before - so I am going to pick one and tell you about it.
In October 2007 I went to Albuquerque, New Mexico for a work trip.
Petroglyph National Monument and walked around for a while. It astonished me that these images created by the Native Americans and Spanish settlers are so old but have survived the outside elements for so long (400-700 years ago) for us all to enjoy.
After that, I went to the Sandia Peak and took the tram to the top - 10,378 feet. The construction took 2 years, and underwent 6 months of extensive testing before the first passengers rode up in 1966. This was the first time I was on a tram that was so long - 2.7 miles! (only other tram's I've been on until here was the ones a a zoo). The ride up took about 15 minutes...and after we reached a certain point, I was nervous looking out the window...going down was easier for me.
The view from the top was pretty. I think we looked around for like 15 - 20 minutes and headed back down...there was nothing to do at the top (at the time I went at least).
After this I went for the best Mexican food I've had so far. I don't remember the name of it, but it was in a shopping center. Then I headed to the hotel to check in.
After a few meetings, we decided to attend the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, it was only $6 at the time. This required me to wake super early so we can get there at least an hour before the sun rose. It was amazing...seeing so many balloons getting ready for their assent and all the different balloons. We stayed here probably until noon. This was truly such a spectacular experience.
Unfortunately I learned that my camera sucked with 'nighttime' images.
My meetings ended and I wanted to best utilize the extra days off I took. This required a bit of driving - and cancelling doing one thing because it was so far away from everything else and I was just exhausted by the end...traveling alone is nice at times, but also difficult because you have do do all the work.
Aztec Ruins National Monument was the first time I saw ruins. The Aztec Ruins are 900+ years old and contain over 400 masonry rooms. I was very impressed with the ruins and the reconstructed kiva. I walked the path and followed the brochure to read about everything. It was a fairly quick stop.
That same day, I headed over to Bisti Badlands. There was very little information about this place, I only knew about it because someone mentioned it, I think my ENT. It was surreal...especially if you are from the East Coast, we don't see things like this. I think I passed one small groupe while I was there, and I spent a few hours exploring all the shape formations and the fossils.
Chaco Culture National Park, an ancestral Pueblo site from 850-1250 A.D. I followed the path and read the brochure learning about the site.
The next day I headed up to Four Corners. I got there early, the gate was open but all the vendors weren't there yet...which meant I had the place to myself for a while so I could take my time attempting to set my timer to get a picture of me. There is a platform where a brass and granite marker marks the intersection of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.
From Four Corners I headed up to Mesa Verde. I took the tour and was still not prepared even though the cashier mentioned the ladders. Mesa Verde's highest point is 8,572 and the view from the top was as vast as you can imagine. Mesa Verde is a cliff dwelling where Puebloans lived for 700 years. There were two tours the Balcony House and Cliff House; I think it was the Cliff House that not only had quite a high ladder to climb to get into the dwelling, but once the tour was over, we had to climb another ladder and then weave our way through the rope that attached to the rock...I wish I got a picture of this...but by the time i realized that we had to do this, I was so scared and didn't want to use my hand to get out the camera. But I did it and after I was proud of myself.
On my last super filled day, I headed to Bandeiler National Monument and walked the trail. These ruins were not in as good shape as others I saw in the previous few days. What was nice was that the trails also went through an area with a small waterfall, so it was a little more scenic than some of the other places, but I was only here maybe 90 - 120 minutes since I knew there were other things I still wanted to do this day.
I stopped in Santa Fe for lunch. The center of town was like a circle/square and was quaint with restaurants and shops.
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, another area my ENT told me about...which was amazing. This was one of my favorite stops on my trip. The cone shaped tent rock formations are the product of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6-7 million years ago. I took the 1.5 one-way hike to the top of the mesa...and then 1.5 miles back down. I realized that hiking alone isn't always the best idea...there were some tight areas where if I fell....no one would have had any idea. It was the most strenuous hike I took that week, but I enjoyed it quite a bit and since try to hike when I am away.
Before heading back to the airport, I stopped at Tinkertown Museum, which started as a hobby and then opened to the public.