I recently had the great pleasure of visiting Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. I had gone Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit some friends. I was so excited just to see my friends, but I had no idea of what they had in store for me! I can’t find the right adjective to describe this place: Amazing, Awe Inspiring, Grand, Stunning, Astounding………….Freaking Cool?
I have never seen anything like this place! The mountain actually looks like someone carved castle turrets into the top of the mountain. The turrets are called Hoodoos and are carved by rain and wind. The Hoodoos range in size from a few feet to 90 feet tall. Long story short, a volcano erupted within the last million years, creating a layer of hard rock on top of soft rock and the two erode at different rates. The result is spectacular. Some of the hoodoos have round caprocks balanced impossibly on top of them.
Here is the skinny on what to do.
- Use the bathroom at the parking lot before you go up the trail. Nope, there is no place else to go except maybe a small tree.
- Bring Supplies! I am from Florida and I am used to heat, but this dry heat will sneak up on you. Snacks certainly wouldn’t go amiss either, because there is nothing around to buy. Sunscreen is a must, and a hat and sunglasses are very helpful!
- Take your time. This is most important if you are not used to the elevation. The elevation of the City of Albuquerque is between 4,900 feet to over 6,700 feet above sea level. (Just for comparison Denver ranges from ranges from 5,130 to 5,690 feet.) Surprised? I was too!
- Grab a Junior Explorer Activity Guide from the Ranger at the entrance or at the Trail Map Post. The Guide has some great info for the whole family and briefly talks about the ancient people who lived in the area. It also gives some information on how the rocks are formed by nature. There are some activities to do on the walk up to the summit, giving you a good reason to stop and rest for a moment, drink some water and just enjoy the spectacular views nsture has provided.
- Can you carry your kids? If you are steady on your feet put the little ones in a back pack. If the kids are really strong on their feet but still little, a kids type leash may not be a bad idea. My friend brought her 2 year old (he is used to walking trails) and he walked most of the way. (Until we got close to nap time.) There were places that I felt more comfortable scrambling over rocks using two hands, so i wouldn’t have wanted to carry the kiddo. (Coming from sea level made it a bit of a challenge for me, but coming down the trail was much easier than going up.)
- Bring More Water. Yes, I know I already told you that, I just thought it worth repeating. The sun is very strong at higher elevations and you don’t always realize you are sweating in such a dry climate. This makes it easy to become dehydrated.
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