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PHOTO GALLERY INDEX > We May Never Tent Camp Again

Kasha-Katuwue Tent Rocks National Monument, NM   06/23/08 (Day 619)
We May Never Tent Camp Again

It’s official. We hit the road today, with our new Airstream Safari SE in tow, and head straight for Kasha-Katuwue Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico where park officials promptly make us leave our Airstream behind! The problem is that we arrive close to gate closing time and the folks at the entry point donít think the Airstream will fit through the much smaller after-hours gate they leave open all day and all night.

airstream Tent Rocks
Sadly, we were forced to temporarily abandon our brand new Airstream Safari SE by the entrance sign for Tent Rocks National Monument since it wouldn’t fit through the park’s night gate.

Reluctantly, we unhitch and drive into the small and too-often overlooked park without the Airsteam. There are really only two hiking trails in the park so we decide to do both.

The spectacular Canyon Trail winds through an impressively tight slot canyon up a valley then emerges on the top of a mesa with fantastic views of the parkís namesake: totally unique conical rock formations that do actually resemble tents (or Cappadochia if youíve ever been to Turkey). Theyíre odd enough in and of themselves, but whatís weirder is that they only seem to happen in a tiny section of this one park.

Airstream - Tent Rocks
Narrow high-walled slot canyons, like this on in Tent Rocks National Monument,  are beautiful  to look at and fun to hike through but we don’t want to be in them when it rains.

On our way back down the trail through the slot canyon it starts to shower a bit and rain is the LAST thing you want in a slot canyon as they are prone to flash floods leaving hikers with no way to escape the water inside the sheer rock walls of a slot canyon. Every year hikers drown in slot canyon flash floods and we definitely start walking faster as the rain increases (spoiler alert: since youíre reading this now, we obviously made it out alive).

Airstream - Tent Rocks
Karen begins her journey through a dramatic slot
canyon in Tent Rocks National Monument.

Exhilarated (and dusty and sweaty), we head out of the park to reunite with our cruelly abandoned Airstream. To our delight, we even remember how to properly hook her back up to our truck!

Airstream - Tent Rocks
These rock formations, which give Tent Rocks National
Monument its name, don’t seem to occur anywhere else.

With darkness falling, we drive to nearby Cochiti Lake National Recreation Area and choose a bluff-top site for the night. We wonít lieóbacking the Airstream into the spot took a few tries (it may be a long time before we master the art of going backward), but we get her in just as the wind really picks upóbut what do we care if it blows? We donít have to put up a tent! Even better? We get to take a hot shower to get the desert grit off.



** This isn't a normal photo gallery with a slideshow because this post originally appeared on our Airstream blog. **

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