Sunset Sunday – Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

With so many sunsets from Mexico, I always wanted to add one from New Mexico to the series. And who better than a native New Yorker and Sante Fe, New Mexico resident – Billie Frank. Not only did she provide something special, but she knew I have a soft spot for astronomy. Learn about her spectacular moment at Bandelier National Monument below:

Sometimes it’s more the story than the sunset. This photo was taken on May 20, 2012, the night of the annular solar eclipse. Northern New Mexico was prime territory for viewing this rare phenomenon. The next one visible in the USA is October 14, 2023.

When I read that Bandelier National Monument, site of Native American cliff dwellings, was hosting a viewing event, I called to make reservations (required). When I finally reached the ranger, she said she’d just booked the last spot. It was waiting list for us. I whined and wheedled a bit and she graciously relented. We had our two spaces.

We arrived at the viewing site at the park’s fire tower an hour and a half before of the start of the eclipse as requested. We were given our special glasses (you can’t look at the sun without special eye gear) and settled into the mountainside to await this rare event. The skies clouded over and we watched much of the eclipse through intermittent clouds. Just as the spectacular Ring of Fire appeared, they sky cleared; there it was: one of the most amazing sights we’ve ever seen.

the solar eclipse in bandelier national monument in New Mexico

the next one is 11 years away from today….

Luckily for us, the Ring of Fire occurred just before the sun set over the mountains; a few moments later and we’d have missed this spectacle. This photo was of the sky viewed from just north of the firetower at Bandelier as the sun was setting. The sunset was obscured by the eclipse and clouds, but this is a “sunset” we’ll remember forever.

– Billie Frank

Well, we only need to wait exactly 11 years to the date for the next one. It’s on my calendar. Happy Sunset Sunday!

Billie Frank writes extensively about Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico for her blog Santa Fe Travelers. A former print journalist, she is a contributor to other online publications writing about food and travel and is co-owner of a trip planning and tour business The Santa Fe Traveler. You can find Billie at @santafetraveler

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  • santafetraveler

    Craig, thanks for including us in your great sunset series. Mea culpa. The photo credit goes to my blogging partner (husband and partner in most other things) Steve Collins.

    • craig zabransky

      You are so welcome, actually I need to thank you for being a part of the Sunset Sunday Series. stay adventurous, Craig