Friday, May 06, 2011

Petroglyph National Monument

On the drive to school each morning, we see a mountain range and three distinct hills.  I was surprised to learn that the hills are actually dormant volcanoes that are a part of Petroglyph National Monument.  

During Aunt Liz & Nicole's visit, we wanted a closer look.  Our first stop was the visitors center.  As an introduction, we decided to do the easy (and closer) walk near a large collection of petroglyphs.  There are over 24,000 petroglyphs in the park.  The oldest ones were created in approximately 3000 BC to 500 AD.  Old stuff. Pretty amazing.
Down a Mountain
It is believed that the images in the rocks were created over a 3000 or so year period by hunter-gatherers, Anasazi farmers, and Spanish sheep herders. 
Mouse with Hammer
I understand that researchers believe that the images tell stories and cannot truly be interpreted. But, it's fun to imagine what people were trying to record.  Like maybe a big rat came & stole their cheese?
Volcanic Remnant
I wonder if this part of our country used to be more lush.  I can't imagine trying to survive in the current rocky, extremely arid desert. The park rangers pointed us toward Boca Negra (about a mile East of the volcanoes).  After an easy hike with lots of petroglyphs along the way, we reached the vista.
The Sandia Mountains can be seen in the background.

We are so lucky to have this amazing historical record in our backyard.  I was saddened to hear that this is America's most endangered National Monument.  The Pueblo Indians still use the area as an outdoor church, but I imagine the biggest threat comes from vandals (both spray paint and guns) and suburban development.

My little chameleons selected outfits that would allow them to blend in with the rocky scenery. 
Next time, we'll pack a picnic lunch.  My little adventurers lasted about 45 minutes before we had to go hunt & gather for more food & drink. 
But, we will be back for more adventures!

No comments: