Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bandelier National Monument & Mesa Verde National Park

If you haven't noticed already, we like to visit National Parks, National Monuments, National Seashores...any National Park Service (NPS) site. We purchased an America the Beautiful National Park pass last year and have put it to good use. One of our favorite NPS sites in New Mexico was Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos.

It was very cool seeing the structures built by Pueblo people.

But of course the coolest thing about Bandelier was they allow visitors to climb into the structures!  

On another weekend trip we visited Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. It was about a 4 hour drive from Albuquerque, but well worth the visit.

Here lizard, lizard, lizard

At Mesa Verde, you had the opportunity to tour the ruins and structures, but only on a ranger guided tour. We didn't know this until we showed up and then all the slots were filled. We were able to see one or two without a ranger, but the most famous Cliff Palace could only be toured with a ranger. Boo!

View from a distance of the Cliff Palace with a ranger guided tour group

Thursday, June 20, 2013

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

If you are ever in southern New Mexico, you should stop by White Sands National Monument. We planned a trip when they held their bi-annual Full Moon Bike Ride. The sand dunes were practically glowing with the light from the full moon...we highly recommend it.
Chase's Sand Angel

We camped out nearby and returned the next day for a fun morning playing on the gypsum sand dunes.
The whole gang

Competition to see who could jump the farthest off the sand dunes

 As we headed back up towards Albuquerque, we stopped at a few vineyards as well as a pistachio farm before stopping in Riudoso, NM to camp.
World's Largest Pistachio

Enjoying our pistachio wine samples.

 Our chocolate bunny "Mr. Binks" didn't survive the hot southern New Mexico sun that weekend. So, we decided to pull over in Riudoso and have chocolate covered marshmallows with his remains