Getting Off the Beaten Path in the Land of Enchantment

| November 7, 2011

Tent Rocks at Tent Rocks National Monument, Cochiti, New Mexico.

Sometimes the road less traveled can surprise even the well traveled.

As we headed for Pagosa Springs, Colorado, we were invited to take a brief pit stop in Cochiti, New Mexico. The next morning, given the options of visiting a place we had never heard of – Tent Rocks, or Bandeleir, we decided to see what Tent Rocks was all about. Are we glad we did.

Slot canyons Cochiti, New Mexico. Tent Rocks National Monument.

When one cuts their teeth on the worship of Ansel Adams, and has an early, deep admiration for Georgia O’Keefe, New Mexico is always enchanting – as soon as I cross the border. I often imagine myself walking in the physical footsteps of Adams or O’Keefe, when in Santa Fe, Taos or some place like Chimayo. I don’t know that either of them experienced the strange formations at Tent Rocks, or explored the slot canyons leading to expansive vistas and different vantage points to view the Tent Rocks, but I could probably spend weeks there myself, like Adams, waiting for the light to be just right.

Tent Rocks National Monument, Cochiti, New Mexico.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is located forty miles southwest of Santa Fe, and about fifty-five miles northeast of Albuquerque. The best access is off I25. Although the National Monument is not crowded at all, it’s still very easy to find.

The hike is probably a 2.5 on a 5 scale (my scale). You will be catching your breath, and the slots can get downright tight. There are spots where you will have to wedge your feet in to get through, but don’t stop short because the views of the rocks as well as the vistas, change at every angle. Bring and drink plenty of water, and a lunch at the end of the climb would be a perfect way to cap off your experience.

Tent Rocks National Monument, Cochiti, New Mexico.

I am first, and foremost, a photographer. Please enjoy the images, and if you ever get a chance to spend time in Cochiti, be sure and see the slot canyons and Tent Rocks National Monument as well. I also have to take a moment to give credit where it’s due – to those companions, and teachers who taught me about Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams. You know who you are.

Apache tear, Tent Rocks National Monument, Cochiti, New Mexico.
Apache tears are along the trail that goes through the National Monument.

Bug for the entomologists.
Quick! What kind of bug is this? I knew there would be a fly connection eventually!

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Category: On The Road, Photography

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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