Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the Footsteps of the Ancients

As mentioned a couple of days ago, while at Bandelier National Monument, we hiked a second trail located in a detached unit of the park known as Tsankawi (roughly 11 miles north of the main entrance).

Some of the highlights of the 1.5-mile Tsankawi Loop along the high mesa top are the cavates (small rooms) and numerous petroglyphs left behind by the Ancestral Pueblos.

The people who lived here during the 15th and 16th centuries built homes out of the soft volcanic tuft (compacted volcanic ash) and used the canyons below to grow crops. Here’s looking out from one of the cavates:

Generations of use have carved trails into the tuft:

Along the route there are three ladders hikers will use to move between the upper and lower cliffs:

Although classified as “rock art”, petroglyphs have a deeper meaning, some known to modern Pueblos, but others now forgotten. Here are a few examples:

Trail: Tsankawi Loop Trail
RT Distance: 1.5 miles
Elevation Gain: minimal
Max Elevation: 6,600 feet

Jeff Detailed trail information for the Great Smoky Mountains; trail descriptions, key features, pictures, maps, elevation profiles, news, books and more.

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