Petroglyph and Chimney Rock National Monuments

This past weekend, I took the long weekend to take on some adventure. I got a hotel room in Albuquerque for a couple of nights, taking the opportunity to visit Petroglyph National Monument. From there, I then moved up into Colorado. Stopping at Chimney Rock National Monument on the way, I found a wonderful boondocking spot on the southern end of San Juan National Forest, outside of Bayfield, CO.

I spent a long time in Los Alamos recently, but it was finally time to head out and leave. I received word from my father a few weeks back that he was going to be in the Albuquerque area last week, and after evaluating everything I wanted to get done, I decided to make the timing work. I got a hotel room in the city for Thursday and Friday night, and was able to meet up and hang out Thursday evening.

On Friday, I then stopped into the visitor center for Petroglyph National Monument. There’s really not much to do at the visitor center itself, as there’s no real drives through this park and no trails from the visitor center itself. But it worked to get some information. Of course, I decided to go ahead and wait until Saturday, after checking out from the hotel, to actually do anything.

Alas, on Saturday, I packed up from the hotel and drove to the Piedras Marcadas Canyon trailhead and set off down the trail. This was pretty strange, as it never really did feel as though I was actually outside of the city, to me. Compared to actually driving in the city itself, this at least got away from it into a small canyon of basalt rocks covered in plenty of petroglyphs. It was overall enjoyable and worth doing, but I’ll have to go back and explore other parts of this monument on some future occasion.

After hiking in Petroglyph, I left Albuquerque with plans to head into Colorado. Considering multiple factors, however, I decided to go ahead and spend one last night at the usual campsite in Los Alamos.

On Sunday, I celebrated my 2 years of officially being on the road. It feels like it has been much longer than 2 years, but I was glad to have the day totally free to explore something new.

I drove north into Colorado with my eyes set on Chimney Rock National Monument, officially my 60th National Park/Monument I’ve been to. As I arrived, unfortunately, I learned that there wasn’t much to do at this one without taking the official guided tour. I ended up having to hang out for a couple of hours before that started.

Overall, Chimney Rock turned into a pretty cool place, following around the tour guide through ancestral puebloan ruins atop the ridge. It was a lot of cool views, and I enjoyed learning the specific details about this one. At this point, I’ve seen so many of these, it’s not really particularly impressive, but the monument overall was really cool!

Alas, finishing my time here, I headed further West and found a campsite near Saul’s Creek just East of Bayfield, CO. It’s been a lovely site, although there’s activity of cows grazing and oil rigs pumping away all day and night. It is certainly that “multiple use” thing here in San Juan National Forest. I’ve certainly been enjoying this spot regardless of the craziness of this all.

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