A Fall Hike in Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
The hike at Tent Rocks National Monument begins with a sandy shaded path into the canyon. The early morning air is dry and warm, but the breeze keeps us comfortable. We walk from shadow to shadow, flanked by dry wiry shrubs and short spikey cacti. Trees stretch themselves tall, their sparse upper limbs reaching out greedily to catch morning sunlight.
The towering rock is composed of layered bands of whites, creams, and dusty oranges. I trace my fingers along the the long, deep grooves and think of the ancient glaciers carving their way through the earth at a snail pace.
By our feet, lizards dart from coveted sunbathing spots into their shady cacti sanctuaries. Overhead puffy white clouds drift slowly, obscuring a deep azul sky.
As we walk on, the walls of the ravine narrow so sharply that one has to squeeze by in single file, or clamber over and under large boulders to move forward.
The trail ends abruptly at the end of the canyon wall and suddenly the easy walkable path turns into a calf busting climb for about 750 feet straight up. The man-made stone steps are placed perfectly to blend in and look natural.
Oh but it’s worth the climb
Looking over the ridge is almost dizzying. It’s hard to believe we came all the way from down below. In this moment I feel so glad I made the climb.
We return back the way we came, this time having the opportunity to see the tent rocks we missed on the way up. We marvel at the geological magic made here in this place and thank the universe for a chance to see it on such a mild day.