Saturday, May 21, 2011

Petroglyph National Monument - Early Writings in Albuquerque, New Mexico

petroglyph (ˈpɛtrəˌɡlɪf) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
a drawing or carving on rock, esp a prehistoric one
[C19: via French from Greek petra stone + gluphē carving]
In 2005, I met my husband who lived in Albuquerque, NM. On one of my visits before I moved there, we went to Petroglyphs National Monument.

If you are traveling through Albuquerque, definitely make time to stop. You only have to pay for parking and the scenery is unbelievable. There is so much wide-open space and the bluest sky I have ever seen. I really felt like I was back in the Old West. I could actually picture the native peoples riding across the landscape as I hiked the mesas. It was like being in a novel!

The hike is strenuous at times. Take some water and sunscreen with you. You are out on the mesas and it is not always an easy climb to view and photograph the petroglyphs up close.

And beware of rattlesnakes! I heard one rattling around while we hiked, but never saw one. They sun themselves on the mesas. This sign amused me to no end and terrified my mother back home in Wisconsin who is afraid of snakes.

There are over 24,000 petroglyphs recorded. If you go to the visitor's center, they will give you a map of the most popular ones and you can hunt them out yourself.

Most of the glyphs were made by the Navajo, the Pueblo, and the Apache people 300 to 700 years ago. Others were created by Spanish settlers 200 to 300 years ago. The meaning of some has been lost, but many still hold spiritual significance to the modern tribes in the area.

Most are easily identifiable as plants, animals, and people, but some are not. They are not always easy to photograph either. It depends on the weather and the time of day, as I soon found out on my hike.

These are a few of the petroglyphs I photographed:

As I was leaving after my first visit, a wicked thunderstorm brewed on the mesa and high winds kicked up the sand from the scrub lands. The air crackled with electricity as we rushed down the mesa to our car just before the rain came pouring down -- very dramatic!

The petroglyphs and the mesas are two of the things I miss most about living in Albuquerque. I had a national treasure literally in my own backyard. The park was a short drive from home and we used to hike with our pet lizards quite frequently. There are many pictures of my husband, myself, and our two bearded dragons in tourist photo albums somewhere. New Mexico is truly The Land of Enchantment!

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!


1001 Secrets of Successful Writers said...

This scenery looks so beautiful. One day I want to visit the American West. I've only been to New York and Washington.

Stay well,


Nora B. Peevy said...

I've been to NY, but not to Washington. Unless, you count when I was 4 and barely remember passing through there. LOL

I lived in WI for 30 years before I moved out west. I have not regretted it. I lived in New Mexico for a year and a half. Then we moved for my husband's work to Dallas. I've been in TX 3 years now.

Albuquerque is a wonderful vacation spot. There are so many places to see. I will be posting more in the coming weeks about other inspirational places to visit, including photos. I love sharing my photography with people. :)