4/12-17 to 4/18/17
At this point in our trip, I can say that Bandelier National Monument completely stole my heart. The campground in the park was stunning and the park itself, with it’s rich and amazing history and beautiful hikes, was spectacular. I’ve found that while I love gorgeous landscapes and places, what really speaks to me is learning about the ancient people who inhabited these places. I should have been an anthropologist.
We stayed in the Coyote Loop at Juniper Campground inside the park in a just-long-enough site with a fantastic backyard…which was good as an excellent Easter Egg hunt happened there. Highly recommend this campground. No hookups but water spigots around and clean restrooms (sinks and potties only).
Bandelier NM is fairly close to Los Alamos, NM which has a fascinating history and is the home of one of three Manhattan Project National Historic Park locations (Washington state and…drumroll…Manhattan, NY are the other locations). It’s a small museum and a fairly quick Junior Ranger lesson/booklet but whoa…crazy atomic bomb stuff happened here! Check it out. A tour through the Los Alamos Historical Museum gave further insight into a secret city that was created and built solely to research and build atomic bombs. As an example, whenever someone living in the town sent mail, it was read and censored so the person reading it didn’t know where you were or what you were working on. Interesting and creepy.
As an aside: Los Alamos is also the location of the only “Super Smith’s” grocery store. It’s my MOST favorite grocery store in 9+ months of travels. They had a clothes/shoe department with great prices (Under Armor stuff and all!), home improvements, housewares, gorgeous produce and just tons of stuff. It was like a REALLY fancy Walmart with QUALITY stuff. Sigh. I miss that place.
Bandelier provided some stunning hikes and super cool cliff dwellings that we could crawl into. What brilliant architects and engineers those Ancestral Pueblo people were!