One of the best parts of being homeschooled is that my family is free to travel. Last week, we went to New Mexico to visit my Mama's family. We spent a week exploring New Mexico's national parks and having fun with friends and family.
On our first full day, we went to Petroglyph National Monument. We met up with family friends- they have a daughter, Zuni, who is my age. She and I hiked ahead of our parents and took photos of each other. Zuni hadn't heard of the Junior Ranger program before, but I was happy to introduce her to it. We stopped by the visitor center first to pick up our booklets.
There are lots of big rocks along the trail. Petroglyph NM is along a volcanic fault line. The park has Albuquerque's five volcanoes. Some of the questions in the Junior Ranger booklet are about volcanoes and local geology. Zuni and I learned that the petroglyphs are carved into the basalt rocks. The reason they show up so brightly is because the basalt gets a darker outer layer- when someone chisels off the "desert varnish," the lighter rock underneath shows through.
What do you think the ancestral Puebloans were trying to show with these Petroglyphs?
We hiked the Rinconada Canyon trail, which is about 2.5 miles long- perfect for kids. The trail is sandy and goes around the outside edge of the canyon. Zuni and I tried to race each other, but it's hard to run in sand! I was glad I wore my hiking boots.
Some of the questions in the Junior Ranger book had to do with the Spanish language. The Spanish and their descendants have been in New Mexico for about 500 years! Many of the names of places in New Mexico are in Spanish. Zuni knows a lot of Spanish, so she was teaching me.
What do you think of these petroglyphs? Doesn't the one on the left look like a monster? Spooky!
Petroglyph National Monument was really fun. I thought I wouldn't see any wildlife, since the park is right on the outskirts of the city of Albuquerque- but I did! Zuni helped me spot several lizards and we also saw a jackrabbit!
We had so much fun hiking that we lost track of time. Luckily, we made it back to the visitor center just in time to earn our Junior Ranger badges. It was a great day and I'm glad I got to share it with Zuni!
P.S. You can check out Petroglyph National Monument at nps.gov/petr!