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We had a wonderful visit from Don’s cousin Cindy this past weekend. On Saturday, we ventured out to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, which is about 50 miles north of Albuquerque.

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The Cochiti Pueblo has always considered this area a significant place. “Kasha-Katuwe” means “white cliffs” in the traditional Keresan language of the pueblo.

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The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred six to seven million years ago and left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick.

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While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.

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As the result of uniform layering of volcanic material, bands of grey are interspersed with beige and pink-colored rock along the monument’s cliffs.

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Over time, wind and water cut into these deposits creating canyons and arroyos, scooping holes in the rock, and contouring the ends of small, inward ravines into smooth semi-circles.

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We took the Canyon Trail, a 1.5-mile trek up a narrow canyon with a 630-foot climb to the mesa top for clear views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, and Sandia mountains and the Rio Grande Valley.

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Definitely one of my favorite places in New Mexico.