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Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks

Traveling in the southwest is a beautiful journey or near baron rocky badlands interrupted by jutting and overwhelming mountains of surprising beauty. But perhaps none is more impressive than the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. Officially named a national monument on January 17, 2001 the Bureau of Land Management along with the Pueblo de Cochiti people have worked together to bring this treasure to the people for all to see the beauty of nature. The words Kasha-Katuwe mean white cliffs apparent through the coloration of the formations formed from volcanic eruptions some 6 to 7 million years ago. Upon walking up to the site one can't help but be overwhelmed. We took on the adventure only to notice that there were many more on the same journey today. Ages ranged but with the exception of a couple children most were early to late adults. Personally on this journey, I would avoid taking small children as the hike is long and steep and could be very dangerous for a smaller child. The hike to the slat canyon pass is about half a mile on a looser almost sand feeling ground. Beyond the turn off to the slat canyon was an overwhelmingly beautiful hike of towering hoodoos, the word used for the rocks which are cone like, a view like nothing you have ever seen. As we ventured further into the canyon passages became more narrow and views were even more impressive as we were surrounded by the mountains on each side, in some places only an expanded arms distance from each side. Passages were littered with fallen rocks used to climb as though functioning as stairs. Air starts to be come thinner as you climb and many that were traveling explained it as a feeling of a heavy chest. This is when we realized the altitude was going to be a bigger challenge than the hike itself. As we continued to climb ever more impressive the views continued to be and as we neared hoodoos toward the larger ascent they were comparable to only something you could see in a movie like "Harry Potter" as they were whimsical and looked like castle tops. Perhaps the most difficult part of the hike to the top was within the last 20 minutes as a set of switchbacks at a steep incline were followed by a fashioned staircase to the near top. But as we finally reached the top everything was worth the struggle. It was a sense of reward and accomplishment met by the beauty of something so pristine that it took us aback. While photos can share the memory they cannot fully describe the unique beauty of sitting atop the mountain and looking on the lands below and the tops of the hoodoos. It was a little over 3 miles and around 60 flights of stairs, according to our step counters. We packed 4 bottles or water and some peanut butter crackers for the journey, something we highly recommend along with a good pair of hiking shoes either tennis shoes with good grip or hiking boots. The experience itself for those with an America The Beautiful pass is covered, otherwise cost of admission is only $5 per car. It is a must see in New Mexico!

Distance to Nearby Cities:

Santa Fe, NM: 40 Miles

Albuquerque, NM: 54 Miles

Gallup, NM: 190 Miles

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