We Pick The Nose!

By January 24, 2020 February 22nd, 2020 Campsites, Excursions

Just east of the Zuni Pueblo lay the pocket-sized Nat’l Park of El Morro.  Slang for “The Nose”, it was a flag for countless travelers along the old Spanish Road, and bears the inscriptions of many famed explorers.  We boondocked for a few days at their free campground, and explored both the park and the little town down the road called “El Morroville”, which hosted both a star party and a Native American film festival.

After peeling out of PEFO, we headed east down the byways into New Mexico, passing through the town of Zuni where Rebecca picked up some incredible, and incredibly cheap, hand-worked earrings.  It wasn’t much further down the road that we found the park.  Mountain heather abounded around our campsite.  Again, we found ourselves alone in the meticulous campground.

That evening, the sky exploded in what was the most amazing Zia welcome to the Land of Enchantment.

At the foot of the bluff lay the tinaja that drew the attention of all those wayward travelers of old.  The deep pool at the base of the rock wasn’t a spring, but was instead a run-off cistern that was perennially full.

At the base of the cliff lay Inscription Rock.  A vertical sandstone chalkboard, conquistadors of old had pecked their names and missions in the face, often in flowing cursive that showed they must have stayed a while.  Juan de Onate’s signature from 1605 lies next to 1000 year old Zuni petroglyphs.  More modern travelers from the American westward expansion also left their marks, including the name of a 12 year old girl who later lost her life to an Indian attack.

A short hike to the top of the bluff led to the well-preserved ruins of a 1,000 year old Zuni pueblo.  The Indians held the high ground in this very defensible redoubt.

We were afforded the only cell coverage in the area while atop the ruins.

The pueblo once housed over 800 souls, and their ceremonial kiva was large enough to have accommodated most of them.

A 5 mile mud hike from the camp led to El Calderon, a 3,000 year old volcano whose flows cover the land to the east.  Here’s a view from its ancient rim.

Denver leads the way to the top!

Finally the departure day came. Snow came down by the foot as we bid our goodbyes to this incredible rock!