We have had some happy surprises along the way, places we didn’t intend to go or didn’t know much about beforehand that turned out to be really neat.
One of those places has been Bandelier National Monument in Los Alamos, NM. We had camped at the campground on the property the night before, so we were able to get down into the park quite early, before the shuttle busses were running. This gave us the opportunity to tour the cliff dwellings almost all alone.
After Mesa Verde, these dwellings felt very small, but here we were allowed access to a few of the caves. We climbed up the ladders and into the dwellings and just sat, taking in how they felt and trying to get a sense of what it must have been like to live there. It was a huge difference from the more hands-off visit to Cliff Palace.
Bandelier was a small NPS property, but well worth the visit.