Saturday June 9th: National Get Outdoors Day

Did you know that last Saturday was Get Outdoors Day? Neither did I, but I managed to take full advantage of it anyway. I went to Bandelier National Monument for the first time, but I missed the main attraction and went straight to the backcountry for a hike with 2 park rangers, a federal park law enforcement agent, a park ecologist, other park employees, and some friends from LANL.

A group of outdoor geeks check out the Arch-site

We started on Burnt Mesa Trail, a relatively flat trail that rolls along until you reach an archeological site. We had amazing views of the borders of the park and learned some history from the rangers as we walked along.

The background mountains are the edge of the park. It’s huge!

Do you see the outline of rocks that once formed a wall? The back country Arch sites are ruins, but we found old bones, pottery shards, and the grinding stone.

The grinding stone. Those women must have had strong hands (and everything else).

Afterwards, we left the maintained trail and crossed a side canyon.

I’m waiting my turn to climb down into the canyon. Apparently bouldering doesn’t come as naturally to everyone as it does me.

Ranger Dale is waiting to help Lena up.

Look at those smiles! What a great day!

After crossing the canyon, we visited ancient eagle traps. The natives would dig two side-by-side man-sized holes about 6 feet down into the bedrock. When it was time to capture an eagle, the warriors would wait in the holes that had been covered with sticks and brush and a dead rabbit. Since eagles are scavengers, they would come down to the rabbits. The warriors would reach up and grab the eagle’s legs with their hands. Afterwards, the feathers were harvested and the bird was released alive.

Ranger Jason helps his son Jimmie into an eagle trap.

I’m not sure if Brian is ready to catch an eagle. He seems too relaxed.

There are many signs in Bandelier of the devastating fire that swept through last year.

Bandelier is recovering, but there are many signs of last year’s fire.


About mcddanielle

nature loving geek
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2 Responses to Saturday June 9th: National Get Outdoors Day

  1. Colin says:

    Eagles and other raptors can be tenacious creatures… it takes a lot of guts attempting to capture one with your bare hands!

  2. mcddanielle says:

    I want to know what the selection criteria was for the warriors. I imagine it was considered a great honor: the ancient version of department chair for example.

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