Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

I climbed a 10,000 year old erupted volcano. What did you do on your labor day weekend?

I went with Mary Rose, Allison, Jake, Stacy, and a group of other teachers from St. Michael on a hiking trip in New Mexico this past weekend. Dan, one of the English teachers at the high school leads these trips around the area, and I was really enthusiastic about getting to see the area around where we live.

We hiked in El Morro, a National Park in New Mexico, checking out the sites (awesome) and getting to see the historic trails of travellers who came through New Mexico. There were petroglyphs on the wall from ancient indian tribes, as well as carvings from the Spaniards who came through centuries ago, and more recent carvings from Americans who travelled by on their way west. Pictures will be forthcoming since I am still without a camera, but some of the things we saw, you had to be there in person. If anyone starts to question God's creation, I challenge them to climb a mesa and look out over all they can see. Beautiful.

At the top of the mesa was an unearthed Pueblo, the the Zuni people built in the 1200s. By the time the Spaniards came in the 1500s, the pueblos were already deserted. The pueblo we saw contained about 875 rooms, huge, but only part of it is unearthed. I love old ruins, it is like looking into a picture of how people lived. And the fact that centuries later I can look and stand where so much history occured never ceases to amaze me.

El Morro is Spanish for "The Headland" and the Americans called it "Inscription Rock", but when it was made a national park, the Spanish name won. What I found interesting about El Morro is that the trail we hiked was actually hand carved by workers of the Civil Works Administration, an organization started by FDR during the Great Depression.

After we ate lunch at El Morro, we went to something called the Ice Caves, which is where I got to climb the volcano. The volcano, Bandera, exploded about 10,000 years ago, and today there is a wonderful area with petrified wood, and lava fields, and ice caves in a collapsed lava tube. It was absolutely fascinating. I love nature, and how it can be so pure and ruggedly beautiful. Allison and I crawled into a cave formed by lava for a picture and, I laugh because it is funny, but, I ripped my pants.

There are signs that say to be careful because the lava formations can be sharp and jagged. I sat down next to Allison on a rock that was there and caught the seat of my pants on a piece of hardened lava. I heard a slow, creeping ripping sound, and all I could think was oh crap. It was bad. It was really bad. From the back pocket to the hem of the shorts bad. Allison, laughing, pulled a bandana out of her backpack and made me a "tail" so no one could see the rip. So yeah, I climbed a volcano and ripped my pants.

Later still, we drove to El Mapais, Spanish for the badlands and completed a third hike. This one was fairly uneventful, but we got to see some cool rock formations and a bat cave. Luckily, no rattlesnakes, although this site told us to be particularly careful. El Mapais also had remnants of volcanic activity and all in all, it was a beautiful hike through some gorgeous areas.

Sunday, we went to Acoma, a pueblo in New Mexico that had the nickname Sky City, and is one of the oldest continually habituated places in the United States. Stay tuned for that later!

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