Bandelier National Monument
Smaller than the well-known Mesa Verde settlement in southern Colorado, Bandelier is just as interesting -- and challenging -- as it's larger cousin. We got a chance to test our woefully out of shape Eastern bodies which have been hibernating all winter from much activity (speak for yourself, Harry). I'm happy to report on the morning after that the muscles don't ache too much.
The loop trail takes you up to a set of small alcoves, some of which you can reach by ladders. These were part of a long house which you can detect by holes in the rock where horizontal poles of the roof rafters were inserted in the past. The look back down once you have climbed up is spectacular -- looking down on the ruins of the Big Kiva.
Near the return of the loop trail is a 1/2 mile spur to the Alcove House, a much larger -- and much higher -- alcove in the side of the mesa wall. To get to the alcove you have to climb three thirty foot sturdy ladders. The important thing to remember (and repeat to yourself) while climbing or descending is "One step at a time". The alcove is very large and offers a lovely view down -- especially with the variety of colors of green with the Spring foliage.
After the long (for us) slog back to the visitor's center, we rewarded ourselves with a Cheesburger and a Coke. How decadent.
There was a very nice museum explaining all that we had seen. I never know the order in which to view the museum versus view reality. I suppose if I had the discipline, we would view the Museum, go out and see the real thing, and then go back and view the Museum again. But, we are too impulsive for that and so we always seem to view the Museum and think "I wished I had known that when we were out on the trail". Note to self: it's time to stop being so impulsive...