Bandelier National Monument

I am linking up with Design Mom today. Thank you for stopping by!

Have you been to Bandelier National Monument? We have been several times because it is one of our favorite places to take visitors to. It has all the right elements to make it a great outing for the whole family: a moderate 1 mile hike, lots of climbing on ladders, and just the right amount of anthropology and history to call it a field trip. Bandelier has several ruins and cave dwellings to explore what life for Native Americans was like around 1,000 AD. And, unlike Mesa Verde, you can actually climb into the caves, which makes it so fun for kids.

First a village on the ground. To get the full scoop I suggest paying $1 for the pamphlet, which explains explains the numbered sites in detail.

IMG_8972

If you look closely there is an adobe structure in front of the cliff. That is what the cliff dwellings used to be like. When you see the pictures with us in the cliff dwellings, these front structures are missing.
IMG_8973

Here is a view of the village from up high. I think several hundred people lived there at the time.

IMG_8976

Lots of climbing up stairs to see the cave dwellings. You do not want to bring a stroller here.

IMG_8988

So here we are climbing into a one room cliff dwelling. Like I said earlier, there would have been a structure in front of it. These caves are so nice and cool, which is nice because usually it gets hot climbing up the hill. Be sure to bring lots of water…IMG_8990 IMG_8992

How many people can you fit in one room? The people hiking behind us where a little surprised when they watched 8 of us climb out of there.
IMG_9002

Another shot of the village below.IMG_9005 IMG_9008 IMG_9010

Here is my son Finn climbing up a ladder with Tasha. The ladders are bolted in, just in case you are wondering.IMG_9019 IMG_9038

My friend Jana with our 6 and 8 year old. My six year old could do the hike and climbing pretty well with some assistance.

IMG_9065

Here is a 4 room cave. IMG_9062 IMG_9069

Here is my youngest taking a water break. The second half of the hike is in the shade along a small stream.

IMG_9099Bandelier is about 50 minutes northwest of Santa Fe. For more info go here. The visitor center has a small little museum showing what life in the village looked like. And it also has snacks foods available.

If you like travel posts like this, here are a few others I have done: Tent Rocks, Taos, Santa Fe, The Very Large Array, and Lincoln.

Have a great day,

Sofija

Pictures taken by David Burton

 

Bandelier National Monument

Tent Rocks: Family Hike

Friends,

Tent Rocks is one of our family’s favorite places. It has all the right elements to make it a fun family outing: a 1.2 mile hike through a beautiful, otherworldly canyon, a challenging climb, and rewarding views at the top. We have gone with our kids ranging from baby to teenager and it was always very doable. For instance I typically carry the baby or toddler (whatever we had at the time) on my back, and my husband would assist/carry the second youngest. I would say kids aged 4 and older can pretty much most of the hike with some assistance. Be sure to bring lots of water especially between May and October (it gets hot once you are out of the canyon).

Here are some pictures I took when we went with friends last year.

IMG_5893

We went in March. It was cool at the bottom of the trail, but once we were in the canyon it got warmer. So we left some of our jackets and hid them behind some trees. Below is our friend Jenna at the beginning of the trail. You don’t need special shoes, comfortable walking shoes will do.

IMG_5904

Our older children typically run ahead and get to the top way ahead of us. The trail is pretty easy to follow, not many opportunities to get lost. However the last part is steep, so I suggest having kids 10 years or younger with an adult or a teenager.
IMG_5915 IMG_5920 IMG_5929

My two oldest making a rare appearance on the blog…IMG_5930 IMG_5955

The canyon is pretty narrow in places, so strollers don’t work.
IMG_5969 IMG_5972 IMG_5990 IMG_5998

Here is the top with miles and miles of views…IMG_6019 IMG_6025

Our friends, Craig and Jenna. Love the pose…
IMG_6023

David with Tasha on his back hiking down. I’m not sure if there is a loop. We always come back down the same way we go up.

IMG_6031

Lucille was 4 years old when we did this hike. She needed some assistance at times but did pretty well overall.

IMG_6038Tent Rocks is about 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe. You can find updated weather conditions and more info here.

Have a great day,

Sofija

Tent Rocks: Family Hike

Lincoln, New Mexico

One of my favorite field trips we have done in the past is visiting the little town of Lincoln, New Mexico.

Lincoln is a small ghost town in southeast  New Mexico, with one main street, and lots of little houses. The whole town is like a walk through museum, nobody lives there. There is a court house and prison, where Billy the Kid escaped from pretty spectacularly. There is the town store, a church, a doctor’s office, a hotel, little gift shops and places to eat for the tourists. It is really fun to walk through and see what life was like back in the 1800’s. What people could buy at the store, what a typical kitchen looked like, the sizes of beds… The doctor’s office’s instruments looked pretty scary.

Here is the my son Shane (about 2 years old at the time, how cute is he!!) in the court house.
DSC00305

My kids with their cousin (left) in front of the courthouse.
DSC00301

Houses like this are lining the street, you can wander in and out of stores.houses

Next the museum telling of Billy the Kid’s history and the Lincoln County War, he was in the middle of.the kids with Billy the Kid the kids outside hotel

church in Lincoln,NM sign4-6 Museums are open 7 days a week, depending on the season. To plan your visit go here.

Have a lovely day,

Sofija

 

Lincoln, New Mexico

My Favorite Time of the Year

I still remember my first October in New Mexico. My sister was visiting me from Germany and the two of us planned a day trip to Santa Fe.  Albuquerque was half way between the small town where we lived and Santa Fe. Imagine our surprise when we were driving through Albuquerque and we saw this:

DSC02091 DSC02099Balloons everywhere, right above the road. Really close. We had no idea that we were driving through the biggest balloon event in the world…

I found out later all about it and made sure we were there the following year. Here are some of my favorite pictures from past years.

this shot is for Aydan here comes the sun DSC02081 IMG_1738

 

We are not planning on going this year, but here is my recap from last year.

This morning I took the girls for a drive to get some close up views of the balloons. I never get tired of it.

Have a lovely day!

-Sofija

 

My Favorite Time of the Year

The VLA

I dug through some old pictures and found these. The Very Large Array is a pretty surreal place. Jodie Foster’s movie Contact was filmed there. It is in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico (2 hours southwest of Albuquerque), surrounded by nothing but high desert.

parabolic dish 10 parabolic dish 9 VLA 3 VLA 4 close up parabolic dish

There is a museum and some outdoor activities to learn about astronomy. Astronomer all over the world use these giant telescopes for their research. Make sure the telescopes are in a favorable configuration before you come. Some configurations have the telescopes too far stretched apart and you won’t be able photograph them nicely in a row like I did above. We went there twice, so the pictures above are from a different visit than below with the kiddos. DSC01622 the kids in front of an parabolic dish this is what i'm eating for lunchGosh, they were so young. The boy in the blue shirt is my nephew. The last picture is my favorite.  Just in case you are wondering what Shane had for lunch that day…

If you make the trip bring lots of sunscreen and a hat. There is absolutely no shade. There is nothing to eat there and the nearest town is half an hour away.

Have a great day,

Sofija

 

 

The VLA

Playground in Aztec, NM

I love it when you are traveling, everybody is getting hungrier by the minute, and you frantically search for a good place to stop and eat…and then what looked like a nondescript picnic area on a map turns out to be this:

IMG_7438

The coolest playground in an unlikely area. We found this at the Riverside State Park in Aztec, New Mexico. It sits right on the river Animas. A local told me that they plan to build trails to connect Aztec, Farmington, and Bloomfield. If you are driving from Albuquerque to Durango you want to stop here.

IMG_7441 IMG_7444 IMG_7449 IMG_7448 IMG_7459 IMG_7454 IMG_7456 IMG_7464 IMG_7463

Cool playgrounds are essential for successful travel with kids in my opion. As I find other interesting structures I will post them. If you have a favorite playground I would love to feature them here. You can contact me at sofija.burton@gmail.com.

Have a lovely day,

Sofija

Playground in Aztec, NM

A New Mexico Garden

Friends,

How was your week? Ours was pretty packed, but also fun. On Wednesday we got to drive through the mountains and visit my friend’s mom’s garden. Beautiful gardens are rare in New Mexico and you won’t believe what you have to go through to have a garden look like this one. You need double fencing. One sturdy one plus a rabbit fence that goes under the ground, cause critters can dig, you know. The fence protects not only from animals like rabbits, gofers, and squirrels but also from the incredibly strong winds. Don’t even try to use the clay soil, you’ll need to buy top soil, manure, peat moss, etc. And water twice a day. Then you might have a chance to grow something. Believe me,  I have tried most of the above and still can’t grow anything big enough to get a decent harvest. My friend invited the girls to harvest her lettuce, kale, herbs, zucchini, carrots and peas. They were so thrilled!!IMG_1828

IMG_1829 IMG_1835 IMG_1836

It was a great learning experience for sure. Connecting with where our food comes from and how to harvest it. Now I need some ideas how to make cook with kale…

How about you, do you find it easy to garden? Do you live somewhere where a Secret Garden just grows naturally? Or are you like me, stunned with how much work it takes…

Have a great weekend.

-Sofija

A New Mexico Garden

Taos Pueblo

IMG_6984

Taos Pueblo is oldest continuously inhabited community in the USA. The structure above is  approx. 1000 years old. People still live here, kids are out playing, people come and go.

I was surprised to see a church in the center. Today 3/4 of the population shares in some of the Catholic practices. I’m really drawn to the Catholic churches here in New Mexico. One of my goals is to photograph as many as possible.

IMG_6990 IMG_6949 IMG_6959

Taos Pueblo Church

 

Next we strolled through the village, where some Natives sell handmade goods. I bought a necklace made of corn. Tasha seemed to like it.

IMG_7008 IMG_7000 IMG_7015

IMG_6997

IMG_6988

 

“We have lived upon this land from days beyond history’s records, far past any living memory, deep into the time of legend. The story of my people and the story of this place are one single story. No man can think of us without thinking of this place. We are always joined together. “

Tribal Manifesto

 

-Sofija

All pictures taken by me with permission from the Tribe.

 

Taos Pueblo

City of Rocks

IMG_0635

My two oldest camped here last weekend. Our friends took them but it was organized by our local American Heritage Girls and Cub Scouts groups. City of Rocks State Park can be found in southern New Mexico near Silver City in the Gila Wilderness. Take a look.

IMG_0638IMG_0640IMG_0645IMG_0648IMG_0649

Apparently the rocks where formed by a volcanic eruption a long time ago. This is a great place to visit for all ages. The girls had a lot of fun jumping from rock to rock.

My 11 year old daughter is the designated photographer for her troop. This girl can shoot some pictures!! She used her I pod touch.

Have a lovely day,

Sofija

City of Rocks