I haven’t been very active on my blog lately, so I apologize for that.But we have recently moved back to Germany and I will write a bit about that in my next post. But this one here is about a trip to the Bisti Badlands in New Mexico during our Christmas Holiday 2016. On Friday December 23rd we decided to head out to one of the hidden gems in New Mexicos northwest. Visiting our friends who live near Albuquerque I wanted to take at least one day trip to explore the area a bit. Searching for things to see in NM I was struck by the crazy rock formations on display in the Bisti Badlands, an area formed some 70 million years ago when this area was still a riverine delta.
From Albuquerque you drive ca. 3 hrs to reach this remote part of New Mexico, the drive itself was beautiful with constantly changing weather conditions that day. Starting with snow, rain and plenty of sunshine as well. Arriving at the scene we realized that it had rained here quite a bit the other day and that moving forward on the slick and slippery ground would be challenging.
It didn’t take long for me to take the first fall, after that I used my tripod as a walking stick, which helped keeping my balance. The area is vast and stretches ca. 8 km east to west and another 4 km from north to south, with so many areas of interest that we had decided beforehand to take a closer look at the cracked eggs. On the way there we explored numerous hoodoos of different size.
One of the signature sightings here was the thin layers of coal that covered some of the rolling hills in the area. Particularly interesting were the ravines and little wash outs that had formed during the big rain the day before, the colors and patterns were amzing to see. Rigid sandstone and lush material alternate so that you find arches, hoodos and little slot canyons. The hoodos form when the rather loose sandstone gets washed away, while a more resistant top layer remains, forming the typical head on the hoodoo. The cracked eggs, stones that looked as if you crack an egg and boil it, were amazing.
All this happened from erosion and the extreme temperature gradients of the high desert in the San Juan Basin. Also we found rocks that were just perfectly split in two parts. But the most breath-taking view were the huge chunks of petrified wood, with intact outer crust and even the ring structure of the stump was still visible, except it was no wood but stone. The sun set around 5 pm and we headed back to the car after exploring for only 3 hrs, which is way too little, I would suggest to spend at least 3 days here and also to go during Milky Way season. I hope my images give you an impression what this place is like and that you will put it on your bucket list.