The Old and the New

Last Monday we had our introduction to the rock wonderland at Chiricahua National Monument in Arizona. This Monday we hiked another rock wonderland, this time an old favorite of ours, Kasha-Katuwe National Monument (aka Tent Rocks) that is only an hour’s drive from Albuquerque. It was interesting to note that Chiricahua is one of the oldest National Monuments, created in 1924, while Kasha-Katuwe is one of the newest, created in 2001.

We had an opportunity to share Kasha-Katuwe today with friends who are new residents of New Mexico. In the months they’ve been here they have seen many of the sights but hadn’t yet been to Tent Rocks. The day after we had talked to them to arrange today’s hike, an article on the front page of the Albuquerque Journal titled “New Mexico Bucket List Fills Up Fast” featured a quote by Lee praising the attractions of Tent Rocks. What a great opportunity to prove that Lee knows what he’s talking about!

New Mexico bucket list fills up fast
D’Val Westphal
Albuquerque Journal
17 Oct 2014

It didn’t take much prodding after my column on some bucket list items to find out New Mexicans have their own bucket full of ideas about what to do in the Land of Enchantment before you die. As well as a few who just want to get out of the state…read more…


Second cousins to the rock spires at Chiricahua.
Second cousins to the rock spires at Chiricahua.
Lunch with friends at the top.
Lunch with friends at the top.
Looking east towards Espanola.
Looking east towards Espanola.
Strange looking rock tents.
Strange looking rock tents.
On the trail into the slot canyon.
On the trail into the slot canyon.

Rock Wonderland

Fantastic, awesome, surreal, inSPIRE-ing are some of the adjectives that come to mind when describing the rock wonderland of Chiricahua National Monument. The Chiricahua Apaches, for whom these mountains are named, called this a land of “Standing Rocks”, an apt description for the countless spires and eroded columns of volcanic rock that line the canyon walls.

It’s about a 7-hour drive to get to Chiricahua from Albuquerque. There is a small campground at the monument and we made our visit there a 2-night stay at the campground. Considering the long drive, that left us with only one full day for hiking. We really should have planned it so that we would have had one more day to hike. It’s not a large area, and the trails aren’t that long, but there is just so much to marvel at that you have to take your time wandering the trails. There’s a whole section of the rock formations that we didn’t have time to see. But that leaves us something to look forward to on our next visit.