Bandelier National Monument

 We’re Back! Left town early and came back same to avoid everyone else…mostly. I always forget what a HUGE weekend this is for Motorcycles. I don’t mind them…except when they makeme go deaf in one ear passing me in the street, and when huge groups take up the entire highway and won’t let you pass… But here is a pic of my favorite part of our trip – I’m calling it The Magnificent Tree:

       
This Juniper is ancient, but you can see it’s still alive (the green patch growing out of the center). Trees like this seem magical to me. They’ve been around for so long, even way out in the wilderness like this one. You have to wonder what they’ve seen. Even though most of it is skeletal, this tree continues to provide for the forest. Its gnarled trunk and branches is home to countless creatures. I <3 this tree.

We camped in Bandelier National Monument right next to Los Alamos, New Mexico. πŸ˜€ Husband and I got married in Bandelier in 2000. We almost couldn’t have the ceremony there because the whole park was on fire at the time:

Trees from the 2000 Dome Fire – Eight Years Later (land recovering)

Super Poodle did great on his great big hike! Eight miles, and he was dragging US! I think he may be the only poodle in history to hike Saint Peter’s Dome Trail. He happily leapt over 35+ trees that had fallen over the path (we counted as we clambered to follow). Husband took a pic of us by the Magnificent Tree. I really didn’t plan the four shades of blue ensemble. I was cold. πŸ˜‰ The second pic includes the tree and the volcanic Hoodoo rock formations.

       

This is the Fire Lookout tower at the top of the burned Dome (where our hike started). I don’t know if it survived the fire or was rebuilt since then. The forest service road up the mountain was IFFY even with a 4×4, and didn’t even come close to where this was taken. I guess people volunteer to live up there, only coming down periodically for groceries. I was thinking it would be a great job for a novelist. Oh, and this was an irresistible barrel cactus…
      

Finally, this is the view of St. Peter’s Dome and Boundary Peak (farthest/highest on the horizon) taken back across the canyon close to camp. Please excuse my maw, it seems to be in the way of all the interesting photos. And lastly, Super Poodle feeling super zonked at day’s end. He’s happy to be back on his couch at home and not crammed between our sleeping bags tonight!

  

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