Tent Rocks

Fourth of July, headed out to Tent Rocks National Monument, after sending Kelly, Julie, Jodie, and John on their way to Colorado Springs. It's on Cochiti Pueblo, about a 45-minute drive from our place, the last few miles on dirt, washboard roads.

The beginning of the trail takes you through a slot canyon that requires some climbing and scrambling. Audrey pretty much handled them with a sense of adventure as we all worked our way, single file, through.

This part of the trail is just incredible. The walls curve in and out, hang over and move away. The effect reminds us of Richard Serra's Torqued Ellipses, where the walls move around you in ways they shouldn't.

Plenty of places to hide.

The trail up to and through the slot canyon is probably just over a mile. The last stretch takes you up the mesa for about a 400' elevation change in about a quarter mile. Audrey had kind of hit her limit at that point, especially since we were back out into the sun after the canyon. So Paul, Trish, and I headed up to the top of the mesa after a break, while Mon and Tess backtracked a bit and found a shady spot to stop with Audrey.

On the way, you start at the base and eventually work your way above the eponymous tent rocks. The layers of sediment on top are a bit harder than those below, which keeps them from completely eroding away, and gives them their shape. We were told at Keshi that this area is still used for coming-of-age ceremonies by the residents of Cochiti Pueblo.

At the top, we met up with a couple of locals who (in addition to taking our picture) shared with us some stories about growing up in the area, hunting on the land, and exploring the surrounding caves.

So, from the top of the mesa, this is our view (with the start point indicated):

and from the trail, looking up at our end point on the mesa:

Dinner at Cowgirl. We earned it.


Paul, Tess, Namma, and Audrey Clare said...

What a great day! Tent Rocks was fantastic, and we all had a great time hiking and climbing. Bram's pictures are great, but the actual sights were beyond description. Thanks to the Meehans for sharing this adventure with us!

Anonymous said...

Damn you! Just couldn't wait to get rid of us and then see more cool stuff. Well, we got to see.............Las Vegas......NM, and.........Trinidad....CO, but you didn't get to see all the fireworks happening around Colorado Springs. The view from the top of the hill in our back yard allowed us to see many different displays! So, HA! Glad to hear you guys had a great hike!

John Iwanski said...

That didn't work the way I wanted it to!

John Iwanski said...

There, that's better!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous post. May I make a little posting about it on the library's blog? Let me know.
Miriam B.
Santa Fe Public Library