Sunday, May 01, 2011

We Missed the Bears!

Climbing from terra firma to heights unknown is not my favorite activity for I am not known to have good balance.  I've been getting better though with all the physical therapy I do.  I was rarin' to go at Bandelier National Monument so we could photograph the ancient petroglyphs.

We had just started down the Main Loop Trial when there was a ruckus in the trees.  Hub decided we ought to go back to the car and get the binoculars.  Of course I'm always the bell hop.  There I was trying to get organized with my own camera, my flip video and the binoculars.  I started to laugh.  How the heck was I going to be  able to climb anything!

As we started off again we hear some rangers talking about seeing the bears just down the trail a bit.  The bears?  How casual.  Oh, well...

Off we went in the opposite direction.  I was clanking and rattling like Marley' s Ghost.  Perhaps it would take the place of bear bells.  Besides, people were beginning to arrive and no doubt would keep the bears at bay.

The top photo  is where we were climbing to and whatour starting point looked like from that vantage. Not so bad,  While narrow, the path was in good condition and I got none of the queasies I had anticipated.

When you look at what's left of these structures you realize what tiny people inhabited them.  If you look closely at the picture below left you can see the petroglyph. Petroglyps are scratched into the rocks.  Pigtographs are pained on with pigments.Click on it to enlarge it if you'd like. The small holes are where the log roof supports used to be.  The ladder leads to a small cave they used for food storage or cooking.  It makes me sad to know the Park Service has to keep charring them to cover graffiti. It's so much a part of our culture you can't even escape it in our national parks.

Hub, at one of these locations, chided me.  "You can climb that ladder!"  Right.  I could have if I wasn't being his bearer!

We walked the ridge line as far as it took us bantering with another couple about our age. " I read," said he, "they had health issues with arthritis and their teeth."  We all laughed, being able to relate to arthritis.  I was surprised about their teeth though.  They certainly ate a more healthy diet than we do!

After a couple of hours we clambered back down.  A family coming toward us said there were deer on the trial a bit further down.  Boy, were they!

It's not that there were so many of them, but how tame they were.  Maybe a half dozen or so.  Licking the lichen off the rocks. It reminded me of the time in Yellowstone when a Bison couldn't get enough of our front bumper.

We literally could have reached out and petted them.  Even the excited pitch of little kids didn't bother them.  I know, they were only deer, but I love seeing them in their own habitat - and that close!

A volunteer park ranger came bopping down the path in a good, cheery mood.  He stopped to chat a bit and told us the deer are always like that.  And the bears?
A mother and her two cubs.  Nothing to mess with. But she seems unfazed by humans.  He found himself between them once and discretion being the better part of valor, got out of the way fast. As a ranger he knows about discretion. She's been there three years now and as long as she remains people neutral they leave her alone.  They might  do a better job of warning visitors however!  One, when she's around.  And two, if careful she's not likely to do harm.  I think I'd still keep my distance!

Back to the car for the next leg of our journey.  Joseph had told us Bandelier was for city folk.  Maybe he's right.  I think I could have handled hiking and climbing everything I saw.  No guarantees in the back country however! As Hub constantly reminds me, I'm old.  Everything is wearing out!  How true, how true.

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