. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

I first visited the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks near Cochiti Pueblo in northern New Mexico about 7 years ago when my parents were visiting. I'm so glad that I was able to go back for a visit and to take a trail that we didn't go on before, this time taking an old college friend with us.

Seven years ago we all went on the Cave Loop Trail, which is about a mile long and led you next to a cave used by Native Americans 4,000 years ago. The cave was up off of the ground, which was advantageous to the natives so that they could have a great view of the valley and remain safe from wild animals wandering in. This visit we took the extension named the Slot Canyon Trail that wound through a narrow canyon and up to an overlook (2 miles there and back). There was still a little bit of snow on the ground where the trail started a steep ascent which made some difficult scrambling up the trail. It was a beautiful winter day, about 45°, with clear skies. At the overlook we were able to see Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, Santa Fe Baldy in Santa Fe, and more of the Jemez Mountains above the Pajarito Plateau that we were standing on.

Here's a little bit of geology for you: The landscape first began as layers of ash, pumice, and tuff that settled out from the debris launched from a volcanic explosion and the pyroclastic flows outward from it about 6 million years ago. Over time wind and water carved out the shapes to form the unique tent rock landscape that is not found in very many places on earth besides the Pajarito Plateau. The area is known for its tent rocks and hoodoos as well as the beautiful layers of the rock. Canyons and arroyos have been carved out of the rock as well.

Hoodoos are tent rocks with a cap on the top of them that formed when weathering around large boulders caused the softer rock below to wear away, creating the tent shape and leaving the boulders on top of them.

If you are ever in the area, I'd love to take you there! It is fascinating and beautiful. And if you aren't a geologist, there is a lot of biology and history in the area as well. The area is famous for its archaeology, bird watching, and plant identification.


"Let all that you do be done in love"

1 Cor 16:14

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