Bandelier Bus Trip - May 2006
This is a panorama of the Rio Grande River from the west side of Alamo Canyon.
The pictures HERE are from a Dallas Sierra Club bus trip to Bandelier National Monument that took place on May 27-29, 2006. The Dallas Group had not visited Bandelier since a large fire there in 1996.
As usual, the bus was divided into five different hikes. I led trip 3. Because I had been a participant on David Van Winkle's Grand Gulch backpack trip just before the bus trip, David (leader of trip 1) and I did not ride on the bus. We arrived at the monument the day before the bus and obtained permits for ourselves and most of the other trip leaders. Six hikers completed trip 3 with me. They were: Kayne Burk, Patrick DeAngelo, Stephen Foo, Lorin Kane, Annie Saint-Aubin and Philippe Saint-Aubin.
Here is a short synopsis of our hike:
Saturday, May 27 - We started hiking at about 9:00 am. After hiking the easy trail out of Canon de los Frijoles (were the Visitor Center is), we headed roughly southwest on the Yapashi trail. We had lunch at the bottom of Alamo Canyon, which is roughly half way to our campsite. The trail down into and back out of Alamo is good, but it is very steep. Continuing past Alamo Canyon, we came to the Yapachi ruins. These ruins have not been excavated. The pueblo here is believed to be larger than the restored one behind the Visitor Center. After looking around the ruins, we hiked the short distance to the Stone Lions Shrine. From here the trail circles around the upper end of Hondo Canyon before dropping into Capulin Canyon. There had been a 124 acre forest fire here just a few days before we arrived. A number of stumps were still smoldering. From here it was an easy hike to the bottom of Capulin Canyon. About a mile up canyon we found a very nice campsite in our permitted camping area - Zone B. We made camp about 4:00 pm.
Sunday, May 28 - We hit the trail about 8:00 am for a long dayhike. We hiked about 3 1/2 miles down Capulin Canyon to a very interesting pictograph site called Painted Cave. Painted Cave (actually more of an alcove or overhang) contains pictographs from many generations of Native Americans, both prehistoric and post Spanish colonization (after 1600). After looking around and taking a bunch of pictures, we continued on down Capulin Canyon about 1 1/2 miles to where the trail leaves the canyon and heads north. We had lunch in Hondo Canyon, and then continued north along the west side of Alamo Canyon. From the high ground along the southern end of Alamo Canyon you get some nice views of the Rio Grande River. The trail north along Alamo Canyon is faint in spots, but pretty easy hiking. Near the junction with the Yapashi trail, we came across a research station used to determine the impact of animals on the land. The facility is divided into three parts. The first part was enclosed by a chicken wire fence to keep out anything larger than a rat. The second area had a barbed wire fence to keep out large animals and the third area was unfenced. Once we got to the Yapashi trail, we were on trail we had hiked on Saturday. We did a little more in depth exploration of the Yapashi ruins and then hiked back to camp. We got back about 5:00 pm. The weather was warm and windy.
Monday, May 29 - Everyone was awake by 5:45 am and we hit the trail at about 6:15. It took about an hour to hike up and out of the upper end of Capulin Canyon. From there it is an easy hike over to upper Alamo Canyon. The trail down Alamo and back up the other side if very gradual and easy, unlike the middle crossing. After hiking over to Frijoles Canyon, we took a long break under some Ponderosa Pines. We looked around the area and found the ruins of two structures. The ruins were little more than slightly elevated mounds of rocks, but if you looked closely, you could see some of the rocks were arranged in straight lines. We continued hiking toward the visitor center and reached it about 1:15 pm. We were the last group down. We soon learned that everyone was safe and had a good time.
David and I cleaned up a bit and started the drive back to Dallas. We got back about 3:00 am the next morning. The bus made it back at about 5:30.