La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs, Santa Fe, NM

I guess I was still in a mood for petroglyphs.  I never tire of finding them or specifically seeking them out for hikes. I try to imagine what the people were like that made the beautiful pictures on the rocks.

I had the afternoon free so decided to drive up to the southern end of Santa Fe to do a hike I hadn’t been on since March 2011.

Since I live in the mountains I don’t take the interstate to get to Santa Fe. Instead I take a two-lane winding highway that has a few interesting towns along the way.

My first sight while driving was a coyote that was on the side of the road. When he saw my car coming he ran up the hill a little ways. I couldn’t resist stopping and trying to get a photo before he disappeared into the high mountain desert.

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Coyote

As I continued driving I had hopes of seeing hawks. But none were out this time of day.

When I got to Madrid (pronounced mad dread) I saw a couple things that enticed me to stop and photograph them. This town is fun to walk and photograph when the weather is nicer and the shops put lots of interesting art things outside.

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Iron Cowboy

Now as I’ve said before and my friend Valerie teases me  (inside joke there), I love to photograph horses. Who could resist photographing a winter horse?

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Winter Horse - beautiful

The next town along the road is Cerrillos.  This is where they filmed the Billy the Kid movie with Emilio Estevez called Young Guns. Another fun town to walk through in nice weather to see the old buildings. 

This odd stick elk is right next to the highway.  I’m not sure what the weird deer-like things are made of behind it, but I think they look creepy lol!

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Stick Elk sculpture

I finally made it to my hiking destination, La Cieneguilla (pronounced see-en-neg-eea) Petroglyphs.  Which means “small swamp”.

I remembered this dead juniper tree at the start of the hike that had been filled with old rusty cans and such. It was a unique sight. The Junk Tree is what the locals call it. I thought it would be fun to photograph this tree again since now I’m a much better photographer. 

Sadly much of the tree was gone and all the odds and ends had been taken out of the remains. I was disappointed and sad. I love seeing unique things to photograph.

I dug through my older photos and found the original photo I took back in March 2011. I don’t think I did too badly 🙂

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Junk Tree

This hike is nothing like the petroglyph hikes in Albuquerque.  There you walk along the base of the basalt Mesa and the drawings are all along your hike. The trails are very easy with little to no climbing. 

This trail is the exact opposite.  The only way to see these drawings is to climb up to them. It can be a very technical hike as the trail isn’t very clear as you scramble up the basalt boulders trying not to twist an ankle.

As the temperatures have been staying quite low there was still snow in the shady areas of the boulders making it even more difficult to follow the trail. 

But Scarlett and I did pretty good. She followed the trail by smelling where other people have walked.  It helped a lot!

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Scarlett

We finally came upon the petroglyphs.  Not as many here as the trails in Albuquerque but still interesting. 

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Owl

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Kokopelli

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We have this bright lime green lichen that grows on the shady sides of rocks. I’m always fascinated by the color. It looks painted.

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Bright green lichen

The view from the top of this hike was very pretty with the snow on the Sangre de Cristo mountains behind Santa Fe.

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Santa Fe Baldy peak covered in snow

I’ve hiked to the top of Santa Fe Baldy twice…very tough hike. Twice is more than enough for this girl!

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Scarlett

Scarlett and I came across a shallow cave.  She had to run up there and check it out right away. 

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My skinny puppy girl

The daylight was fading so it was time to head home. And I realized I went a whole afternoon of hiking and didn’t photograph one bird.  Kinda sad huh?

There’s one other small town I drive through on this highway.  It’s called Golden.  There’s this old historic church there. I have often wanted to photograph it. But sadly the locals keep it locked up tight. You usually can just see it on a hill from the highway.  But on the way home this day I realized the gate to the driveway was open. So I took a chance and drove up the hill.

The gates at the entrance of the churchyard were closed with a video monitored no trespassing sign. So I had to content myself with taking photos from there. The light was fading fast. So I did the best I could. I think they came out ok. I tried to be artistic 😉

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San Francisco de Asis built 1839

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Maybe someday I will get a chance to go inside this church. I’m sure it’s gorgeous with vigas and Spanish influenced decorations. 

Scarlett and I enjoyed our afternoon hike. Hopefully the weather will stay nice for awhile and we can get out some more. And hopefully see lots of birds next time! 

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Bottle fence in Golden

6 thoughts on “La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs, Santa Fe, NM

  1. No birds – not so bad. Great stories about what you see. I really like that. I think the deer by the stick elk are Santa’s Reindeer. At least that is what came immediately to my mind. When you stop by the Junk Tree again. Take a piece of junk to hang. Great Blog!

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  2. I love the coyote picture, it is posing for you nicely. I also thought the stick deer were Santa’s Reindeer until I enlarged the photo, then they did look a little creepy.

    Like

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