Aztec Ruins National Monument (New Mexico)

… was proclaimed 94 years ago today (1923).

Aztec Ruins

Around 1100 A.D. ancient peoples embarked on an ambitious building project along the Animas River in northwestern New Mexico. Work gangs excavated, filled, and leveled more than two and a half acres of land. Masons laid out sandstone blocks in intricate patterns to form massive stone walls. Wood-workers cut and carried heavy log beams from mountain forests tens of miles away. In less than three decades they built a monumental “great house” three-stories high, longer than a football field, with perhaps 500-rooms including a ceremonial “great kiva” over 41-feet in diameter.

A short trail winds through this massive site offering a surprisingly intimate experience. Along the way visitors discover roofs built 880 years ago, original plaster walls, a reed mat left by the inhabitants, intriguing “T” shaped doorways, provocative north-facing corner doors, and more. The trail culminates with the reconstructed great kiva, a building that inherently inspires contemplation, wonder, and an ancient sense of sacredness.


Ancestral Puebloans related to those from the Chaco region farther south built an extensive community at this site beginning in the late 1000s A.D. Over the course of two centuries, the people built several multi-story structures called “great houses,” small residential pueblos, tri-wall kivas, great kivas, road segments, middens, and earthworks. The West Ruin, the remains of the largest structure that they built and which has since been partially excavated, had at least 450 interconnected rooms built around an open plaza. Several rooms contain the original wood used to build the roof. After living in the area about 200 years, the people left at about 1300 A.D.

Aztec Ruins National Monument

The Snow of the Century in Albuquerque

Sixth in a series reposting photo essays from the archives of NewMexiKen.

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December 30, 2006

Balloon Fiesta!

Third in a series reposting photo essays from the archives of NewMexiKen.

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Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta October 2005

Saturday at the Fair

Second in a series reposting photo essays from the archives of NewMexiKen.

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The New Mexico State Fair September 2005

It’s Fall in Albuquerque

In May the highest official temperature in Albuquerque was 87º.

In June the official high temperature in Albuquerque reached 90º or higher 27 out of 30 days. It got to 100º twice (actually 103º one of those two times). The average high was 93.3º.

In July the official high temperature in Albuquerque reached 90º or higher 29 out of 31 days. It got to 100º three times. The average high was 95.6º.

In August, so far, the official high temperature in Albuquerque has reached 90º or higher just six out of 25 days. 93º is the highest and 86.7º the average. Twice the high hasn’t even reached 80º.

At a mile above sea level the summer really is perfect. Warm but confined to 2-1/2 months!


Update September 5th: Hasn’t been 90° since August 15th.