Monday, September 8, 2014

Petroglyphs at Piedras Marcadas Canyon, Albuquerque NM

Every week I try to go out photographing with a photographer friend. Sometimes I pick the spot and sometimes he does and often times he picks places I probably wouldn't go on my own. This trip was one of those times...we went to the zoo and then stopped on the way home at the Piedras Marcadas Canyon in Albuquerque. A couple other folks joined us for the zoo part of the day and it was very interesting to see what everyone came up with. I only took a couple animal photos there, and the rest were part of my working project...Shadows- Photographs of Nothing. Enough of that. Petroglyphs are always interesting to see and think about but really don't make great photos. What am I going to do with them? That aside, we walked on the sandy trail through acres of wildflowers. There always seem to be wildflowers around. Yes, we did get distracted and spent a bunch of time in the fields a little off trail while we headed to the volcanic cliffs. Petroglyph National Monument has on of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs in North America. There are approximately 25,000 images in the West Mesa escarpment. The park itself is actually in three different locations. It is a 17 mile long cliff of basalt formed by eruptions around 200,000 years ago. Boca Negra Canyon is a super short walk with signs pointing to specific petroglyphs. Only 5% of the petroglyphs are at that site but it is the most visited because there are facilities and it is a short walk. You have to drive through neighborhoods to get to it and houses are literally only an acre or so away.

Another of the sites is the Rinconada Canyon which has been closed due to washed out trails. I haven't been there yet. We rambled over to the Piedras Marcadas Canyon, drove past houses in a neighborhood, parked in the neighborhood and walked out on the sandy trail to two of three main clumps or outcroppings. It was smack in the middle of the day so the light was pretty harsh and most of the datura flowers near the rocks were closed but we did scope it out for a different morning trip. Since we were there though we hiked and climbed around and took a few shots. It amazes me that you can just go right up to these historic bits of art. It amazes me that a neighborhood is right there - what a cool thing to be able to wander in every day or night. It is also great that there wasn't any trash or vandalism. Very nice to have this wonderful stuff 40 minutes away. I plan to go back at dusk or dawn and definitely in the winter when there is a dusting or snow or frost!

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