Saturday, January 3, 2009

Following ancient footprints on the Tsankawi Trail

Yesterday we checked out the Tsankawi Trail, part of Bandelier National Park, but 12 miles away just outside of White Rock, NM. Calvin is officially too big to fit in the Bjorn, so we had to use the backpack, which he loves.

This trail has been used by people for so long that a perfect groove about a foot deep has been worn into the side of the mesa. Part of the trail you can see footprints worn into the volcanic rock. The people liked to live there because it was easy to build houses in the caves, formed from the volcanic tuff. There are still petroglyphs in the side of the rock. We had to climb a narrow stairway that cut through the rock. Calvin reached to the side smacking the rocks.

When we got to the top of the mesa, Calvin conked out. When he falls asleep he leans so far to the right that you think he might fall out. There was a couple of inches of snow on the ground and it was kind of slippery. After walking the length of the cliff, we realized that we had to go down a narrow groove of rocks and scale a 20 foot ladder to get down. Quinn had Calvin, who was still asleep and leaning out of the backpack. We thought about turning around, but then Quinn went for it.

I could barely watch as he went down the ladder, it looked so dangerous. Calvin must feel safe as long as he's near a parent, regardless of what they happen to be doing. But they got down, and it was my turn to go down. After the ladder we followed ancient foot trails. Ice had formed in the grooves, making them as slippery as bobsled runs.

The trail guide had a comment, something along the lines of "imagine doing this trail every day with a young baby like the women who lived here." It was very easy to imagine.

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