Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, New Mexico
(May 3, 2016)— Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, New Mexico—This place was just- wow! Nestled in the hills of Cochiti, New Mexico lies a vastness of tapering hoodoos topped with incredible boulder caps, all of which were abruptly formed during a series of volcanic eruptions occurring 6-7 million years ago. In this cataclysm of searing hot gasses, bubbling lava and powerful explosions came a fairly uniformed rock formation- Kasha-Katuwe, meaning “white cliffs” in Keresan; language of the Native Americans who reside in the Pueblo de Cochiti, and which today is one of New Mexico’s precious geologic gems.
One of the most profound features of the Tent Rocks are its various layers, composed of sand and gravel that were eroded from northern volcanoes and deposited in the monument area via flash flooding. Each color of the layers signifies a different type of deposit: white for ash and pumice, orange for sand and gray for tuff. Everything that makes Kasha-Katuwe remarkable is due to the pyroclastic construction that took place to create it; with its scooping holes, its dipping trails, its twisting ravines and smooth surfaces eroded over time from wind and water. Its canyons and arroyos sit deep within towering 90ft. walls infused with vibrancy, ancient spirituality and rampant bands of pink, beige and yellow rock.
As you begin your trek, you meet with wildflowers (western wallflower, evening primrose, clammyweed, scarlet gilia, and prickly pear), shrubs (three-leaf Sumac, apache plume, manzanita, cholla and banana yucca), and birds- oh the variety of birds you’ll meet (white-throated swift, rock wren, juniper titmouse, western scrub jay, and the dark-eyed junco)! Everything is lustrous and alive- a sign that magic really does exist even in the most unforgiving places of our world.
After two miles of winding twists and turns, one crests the monument to be awakened by a most enticing view of the Sandia Mountain Range, the Santa Fe Mountains, and the glistening Rio Grande, like a stimulating serpent, leaving the earth green and hypnotized as it flows.