Bisti Wilderness Area, New Mexico, February 2020


This past weekend I went somewhere I had wanted to go for a long time. So close to home, yet another world…… I imagine this is what it looks like on another planet and I felt like I was on the set of a Star Wars movie and at any moment some strange looking creature riding a futuristic machine was going to come screaming through the brisk desert air. I half expected to come around a corner and see Jaba the Hut sitting the having a party in the desert! This place fits the bill!

Mad Max ain’t got s*** on this place!

Ah, the desert. One of my happy places. I find that this time of year I am usually running from the snow and cold of Colorado. Every year it gets harder and harder to grin and bear it……

Annie, off in the distance

The Bisti Badlands is a 45,000 acre wilderness area located in San Juan County, New Mexico not far from Farmington. It is a desolate area managed by the BLM and only about an hour and a half drive from Durango, Colorado where I currently reside. But hopefully for not too much longer as the lawyers, judges and ex wife has had there way with me lately. I think of it much like it must be to be gang raped in prison. Even though I have no experience with prison rape, it’s probably not a good feeling and I know that I feel violated and Colorado just doesn’t hold the beauty that it once did for me now…..I need a change bad…….

Like being on the moon!

Translated from the Navajo word Bistahi, Bisti means “among the adobe formations.”

I traveled here with a lady friend on a pre- valentines day trip and we had an amazing weekend! Turns out she is a little psycho,(I’ve come to learn I have a way of doing that to women!) but what do you expect from an early 50’s single woman or an early 50’s single man for that matter! At my age I’m just happy for the company and the companionship!

We rolled in early afternoon and got Annie (my Tiger Adventure Vehicle) parked after an amazing night and day at nearby Chaco Canyon, but I’ll write about that in another post….. After getting Annie situated and locked up tight (this is the “Rez” so it’s a little sketchy) we geared up for the hike in. Being it is a wilderness area there is no motorized vehicles allowed. Foot traffic or horses only!

We started our hike early afternoon and descended out of the sand and sagebrush desert into a world of black, grey, purple and red sand and rock formations. It is truly amazing to see what water and wind can do over millions of years.

It is about a 4 mile out and back hike. No trails, no markers. I took note of the direction of the sun so I could find my bearings were we to get lost, which I would suspect is VERY easy to do here! It’s a little daunting to be somewhere that if you got lost you’d be F**KED! , and I entertained the image of some hiker coming across our bleached bones!

Cracked Eggs section
Petrified Logs

Another cracked egg

Humans have been in the badlands since around 10,000 B.C. and the area contains numerous Chacoan sites and also the prehistoric Great North Road which was part of an amazing road network which connected many of the Anasazi sites all over the Southwest……… Whenever I’m in these parts of the country it always astonishes me that people have survived and flourished in these harsh climates……Even before the modern day creature comforts that make it bearable during the scorching summers and frigid winters here!

Bisti Rock Garden

If you are ever in North Western New Mexico this place is definitely worth the stop. Just make sure you bring plenty of water and a good sense of direction!

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