On the northwest side of Albuquerque, NM is Petroglyph National Monument. It is located in three seperate canyons and a visitors center.
The Government shut-down had just started this day, so we didn't bother stopping by the visitor center as there are no trails there. Instead we chose Piedras Marcadas Canyon, it is home to 300-500 petroglyphs.
In the West, having a National Monument of this kind in a populated area is...well, rare. What's really odd is that you can get your oil changed next to the parking lot and there are lots of homes surrounding the parking lot, but you will not be able to get water or use a toilet.
I'm obligated to tell you that this area is a remnant of erupting volcanoes. This is what produced the beautiful black canvas for our petroglyph artists. By now, if you have been reading my blogs you have probably noted a common ancient theme to New Mexico and the states surrounding it...volcanoes. This was a hotbed (pardon the pun) for cinder cones and volcanoes by the dozens; perhaps hundreds.
Petroglyph National Monument is also home to 2 species of millipedes, and of course my personal favorite, the rattlesnake. The two varieties of millipedes are the Desert Millipede and the Slate Millipede. The Desert variety are dark brown and about 6 inches long. The Slate Millipede is considered rare and is 3 inches long, and you guessed it, dark gray. Millipedes are basically harmless and perform a great service to the desert by consuming the dead. Now when I said "basically harmless" they do excrete a toxic substance if picked up or threatened. So leave them alone to do what they do best.
Just as it is wise not to pick up any living thing in the desert, please remember not to pick up any petroglyphs or any other object and take it. Otherwise there won't be anything left for future generations to enjoy. Oh, and it's a federal offense.