Bandelier National Monument has announced five special programs being offered in October – two photo hikes with the park Artist-in-Residence, two Night Sky Programs being presented by a staff ranger who is a long-time astronomy enthusiast and teacher, and a Wilderness hike with the park Trails Lead.
Saturday, Oct. 4, Artist-in-Residence David Halpern will lead a photo hike on the Cerro Grande Trail. The trail is about 5 miles round trip with a rise of 2,000 feet, to the rim of the Valles Caldera at nearly 11,000 feet. He will be leading another on Monday, Oct. 20, in the Tsankawi section of the park. This trail is about 1.5 miles round trip, and includes four ladders and some scrambling. Participants need to dress for the weather, bring water and snacks, and, especially for the Cerro Grande hike, be ready for high altitude.
Numbers are limited and participants must be 12 years of age or older. Contact the Bandelier Visitor Center, 505.672.3861 x 517 for details and to sign up. And don’t forget your camera!
Halpern is an award-winning photographer living in Santa Fe. He is an experienced teacher of photography, both in the classroom and at workshops; a prolific writer; and a photographic consultant. He has been an artist-in-residence at five other parks, and has produced a travelling show and a book featuring his photos.
Saturday evenings Oct. 4 and Oct. 11, weather permitting, Park Ranger Geoff Goins will host Night Sky programs at the Juniper Campground Amphitheater in Bandelier. Oct. 4, the moon being not quite full should make conditions ideal for lunar observing. The following Saturday, Oct.11, the moon will not come up until late, so the dark sky should provide opportunities for seeing constellations, stars, galaxies, and nebulas. Both programs will include a talk and then telescope viewing. Campers and non-campers are welcome. Besides being a ranger, Goins teaches astronomy at UNM-Taos.
Sunday, Oct. 19, as part of the celebration of the anniversary of the Bandelier Wilderness, long-time Bandelier ranger and Trails Lead Dale Coker will take hikers from Ponderosa Campground, down to Upper Crossing, and then down Frijoles Canyon to the Visitor Center. Following the floods in the canyon, there is no longer an established trail over much of the distance. Much of the route is in or crossing Frijoles Creek, is rough and rocky, and there are many large piles of flood debris that must be scrambled over or around. Total hiking distance is about 8 miles, and time should be 5-6 hours. A shuttle back to Ponderosa will be arranged. Hikers should have appropriate footwear, hat, sunscreen, water, lunch and snacks, clothing for the weather, and hiking poles would be helpful for the uneven terrain.
Number is limited. Contact the Visitor Center, 505.672.3861 x 517, for details and to sign up.
The shuttle buses from White Rock to the park continue until Oct. 27. Before that date visitors may drive to the monument Visitor Center before 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m. and utilize the free shuttles in the middle of the day. As of Oct. 28, drivers should proceed on in throughout the day.