Hey, followers and readers: I want your input.
But first, I want to tell you about Bandelier National Monument.
After we spent enough time looking over miles and miles of New Mexico from Whiterock, we headed back to Bandelier. Just like the bus driver had said, there were no rangers at the entrance. So we drove in. At the welcome center, there were throngs of people waiting to catch the last few buses, but the rest of the park was pretty quiet.
Bandelier National Monument is nestled in a gorge near the Jemez Mountains and Valles Caldera. It’s called Fijoles Canyon. There is an ancient settlement built into the cliffs as well as a Pueblo on the valley floor.
Here’s something I found fascinating. Over a million years ago, the Valles Caldera super volcano exploded, depositing volcanic material for miles around, including a layer of volcanic ash on what is now Bandalier. Over the centuries, the volcanic ash hardened into a soft stone called tuff. The tuff has been sculpted into some fascinating features by the winds and the rains coming off Valles Caldera. There are spires, and buttresses, and small caves carved into the tuff. The ancient pueblo people and their ancestors carved their homes into the soft cliffs, and used the stone to build larger villages and kivas.
Valles Caldera continues to help shape Bandelier. The rain that fell miles away in the caldera made the little stream at Bandelier swell well past its banks. We could see where vegetation had recently been flattened by rushing water. I mean recently within the previous few hours! There were also signs warning of flash flood potential!
I can remember reading about a group of hikers in a canyon that got caught in a flash flood. It had rained many miles away, and all the water drained and funneled into the canyon they were in. I don’t remember where they were. In fact, a quick Google check shows me dozens of flash flood canyon drownings.
I haven’t painted anything from Bandelier yet. That’s where I hope you all come in.
So tell me, what do YOU think I should paint first? I’ve numbered them in the captions. Let me know in the comments. Or go to my Facebook page -the link is in the right margin. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .