It’s fun to say it like that, isn’t it? A rallying cry, or something a pirate would yell. Yarr! Bandelier!
Alas, I didn’t see any pirates – or even any colorful shoulder parrots – at Bandelier National Monument, NM, though I did see plenty of my favorites: red rock and ruins.
We got there late in the day, but still had time to get to the visitor’s center, learn about the place, then go for a hike. (Note: Like most National Parks, Bandelier doesn’t allow dogs on trail, and they have a mandatory shuttle service from town, but only until 3 p.m.)
I had talked to a man in town earlier that day about how to get into the park, and he said something to the effect of go past the gate, hang a right, park in the lot, and then you’ll see the trailhead.
Which I did.
That was all supposed to take me to the visitor center at the base of the ruins, which rise into the cliffs. You can climb ladders into tiny caves and pretend to be a woman living a thousand years ago, hauling water and fending off hostile animals and humans, instead of a woman living now whose idea of roughing it is sleeping in a clean, locked Scamp and not washing her hair for a few days.
But back to the directions, which turned about to not be quite as clear as this directionally-challenged woman needed. I got past the gate, took the right, found the lot, and since it was getting late, marched to the closest trailhead. Which took me to this view:
So okay, wrong way. Now I was getting anxious because I’d just hiked a mile and the visitor’s center was closing at 4:30, which was rapidly approaching. So I marched my way back down the trail and was frantically looking around for another trailhead, when a shuttle bus pulled up and the driver confirmed that, yep, I was in the wrong place.
Turns out the gate the man had referred to earlier wasn’t the entrance gate, it was the gate I’d seen after it that said “Road Closed.” I mentioned this to the shuttle driver and he said, “Yeah, you just go around it.”
Which I did and was rewarded with three minutes with the friendly, knowledgeable park rangers at the visitor’s center, as well as this:
If you liked this post, feel free to share it with the buttons below!