Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument - Albuquerque/Sante Fe, NM

Document created by ssindc on May 8, 2015
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Finally got a chance to visit, hike, and shoot the Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument while visiting/working in Albuquerque.  Absolutely gorgeous, breathtaking, unique, fascinating, etc.  Glad I made the trip - and here's a taste with some photos.

 

Tent rocks or "hoodos" apparently are the result of volcanic activity more than 6 million years ago.  Then the wind and the water went to work, with the result being not only gorgeous, but unique.  The Park Service/Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says that the hoodos rise as tall as 90 feet, but it sure looks to me like they come in all sizes....

 

The Tent Rocks National Monument is a solid hour drive North of Albuquerque, much of which flies by at 75 miles per hour, but the last stretch - which passes through the reservation - is much slower, with frequent stretches of slow driving and navigating the "dips."  But it's worth it, and they ought to raise the $5 entrance fee.  There are two trails, but the upper/Canyon trail has some steep passages and plenty of stretches that won't be confused with a neighborhood hike - there are only a small number of rock-scrambles, but you need to watch your footing - it's safe, but you're also close enough to the edge at times that you need to pay attention.  But, it's worth it - the views/panoramas from the top are exquisite.

 

Apparently, the hike can be unsafe when there's big rain (and that makes sense to me).  Also, it became much less pleasant any time the wind picked up  - there's a lot of dirt, sand, dust blowing around up there and, in places, it can feel like you're in a wind tunnel (which makes sense if you look around).

 

As for hotels, I typically stay in the Marriott Pyramid on the north side of Albuquerque - atrociously ugly on the outside, but a great location for hiking Sandia Mountain (or riding the cable car), a fully functional hotel, and well managed with a pleasant, helpful staff.  Alas, this time, I decided to try the Courtyard across the parking lot (because, uh, it was much, much cheaper).  Well, it wasn't worth it, and I'll continue to recommend the Marriott Pyramid and not the Courtyard.  (The Courtyard is badly in need of a refresh, the staff are nice enough, but they can't do much about the property.)

 

p.s. When in Albuquerque (or the area), try the Flying Star Cafe - I think it's a great chain - great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert/snacks, drinks - and they're all over town..... I wish we had 'em on the East Coast...

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