Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Albuquerque - Part Four

Here's the home stretch post of our recent trip to New Mexico. On the way home on Monday we stopped off at El Morro National Monument, which is about 40 miles south of Gallup, out in the middle of nowhere.

In a nutshell, at the base of the huge rock formation you'll see in the pictures below, there resides a year round pool of water formed by snow runoff and sporadic rainfall. The base off this foundation is covered with petroglyphs, and inscriptions from Spanish explorers, US infantry, etc, passing through to other parts of the west.

Here's a view of the surrounding area from the top of the butte. If you look closely you can see the roof of the visitor center.

At the top there were a few pueblo ruins, I took a picture of the plaque at the top, for those of you interested in reading more about this area.

A kiva located at the same site where the ruins are.

Here are Emily and Brenna, both humoring me on this sidetrip.

Behind Brenna and Emily here is the aforementioned pool, which was at about eight feet deep, according to a measuring "stick" in the middle of it. Supposedly it can run as deep at twelve feet, depending on the time of year.

Here is a far away shot of Emily and Brenna at the same pool. You get a better sense of how sheltered that pool is and how it would have been a welcoming oasis for those passing through, especially in the hotter summer months (the park is located at slightly over 7000 feet in elevation).

This next shot is a sampling of some of the petroglyphs found at the base of the rock.

A shot of the oldest Spanish inscription found on the rock, from 1605, if memory serves. Amazing how well preserved a lot of these were. There were literally hundreds of similar messages spanning across hundreds of feet of this rock.

More recent inscriptions found in one area of the rock.

A more elaborate inscription of someone in the US military that headed up an expiriment involving using camels shipped from Egypt as an alternative to using horses or mules for moving heavy loads across the country. After this program was disbanded in the 1860s, apparently some of the camels escaped from wherever they were sold (circuses, etc), and their ancestors are still roaming free range from Arkansas to Mexico.

One more sample, another one from the 1600 or 1700s.

And finally, a couple of shots of the rock itself.

Back home, Brenna is playing with some discovery stacking blocks from the Visitors Center. While I was killing myself running up the rock to view the pueblo ruins, these blocks kept her occupied.

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