NEW MEXICO ADVENTURES
A Walk in the Park
Most of the time my dog Clooney and I walk along the path near our house that runs parallel to the Alameda Drain. It is easy to get to, the view is always spectacular, and sometimes we even meet up with his other best friend — a woman who goes for walks with dog treats in her pockets. But sometimes I like to take him out where we can see other vistas, and one of our favorite hikes are the trails at the Petroglyph National Monument.
Located on the western edge of Albuquerque, it is an easy drive made easier by the fact that it is accessible in more than one place. We usually go to a Valvoline Instant Oil Change that backs up to one of the entrances to the park and then head out to see what we can see.
The West Mesa is basalt lava rock that rests on the Santa Fe Formation, the accumulation of sand and gravel that eroded from the surrounding mountains and mesas.
The basalt lava rock, it turns out, is a hospitable art medium if you happen to have a stone chisel and hammerstone, and these stone carvings are a record of what the Pueblo people who first settled this area saw, thought, and believed. I always feel a spark of delight when I see one of these carvings done by someone I will never meet and whose language I don’t share, but, all the same, I understand what they were attempting to convey with the tools and medium they had at hand:
At least 500 years separate me from the original artist of this petroglyph, but there is a good chance that when I took this photo, my path and that of the artist who carved this rock crossed.
But the West Mesa isn’t just exquisite stone carvings from another time, it’s also home to many animals unique to the southwest, including jack rabbits:
the very occasional coyote,
roadrunners who seldom stay in one place long enough to get a still photo, and — whenever I am willing to take him to the West Mesa for a walk — my dog Clooney
And I think that Clooney’s expression — which shows his admiration of the view and his joy at being able to see it — is another message that can be conveyed across time and space.