Day Trippin: Los Lunas Mystery Rock


New Mexico. The Land of Enchantment. It’s where I was born and raised. As a kid and a young adult, I explored much of the beauty of New Mexico. Carlsbad Caverns, Bottomless Lakes, Lincoln, The Sandia Mountains, Jemez Mountains are just a few of the places I’ve adventured. But New Mexico offers so much more. There really is a kind of magic here. An enchantment, if you will, that surrounds and permeates the land and the people that populate it. In an effort to see more of New Mexico’s mysterious and magical places, some friends and I have decided to do one adventure a month to all the magical places we’ve never been. Hence, the trek to the Los Lunas Mystery Rock.


The rock has a wiki site, if you’d like to read the longer history. For those of you in love with brevity, the mystery rock is an 80 ton rock with the 10 commandments carved into it. As if that isn’t a metaphorical feat in itself, in addition the commandments were written in a Semitic language that dates to 1000 B.C.! The enigma has been there for a while and has a history of confusing the native Americans which named the rock and the mountain it rests near, “Mystery Mountain”.

Despite being located near the Los Lunas Landfill, Mystery Mountain is an impressive site. We had to hop two fences (with barbed wire) and trek through an arroyo to get to the mountain, but it wasn’t a bad hike. It only took us about 30 minutes to reach the rock itself. My first impression was that the rock was awe-inspiring and certainly mysterious. It was carved in a remote spot with diligence and expertise. The letters weren’t scratched into the rock like the rest of the graffiti around the place, but were actually chiseled into the stone. There was a lot of graffiti around the stone, places were people have left their own mark. I wondered what it is about places like this that compel people to add to them? I’ve seen several petroglyph sites and all of them have their fair share of recent(ish) graffiti. “J hearts M”, MG was Here, “Sore Foot Gulch 1957” were only a few of the desecrations I saw around the Rock. It occurred to me then that people that stumbled on places of power were always compelled to mark it for its own sake. People mark these places or build structures to commemorate them because of the power that area exudes.

Something compelled not only the Mystery Rock artisans to work here, but native American populations as well. Once we hiked to the top of Mystery Mountain we uncovered many Native American petroglyphs as well as what appeared to be the remains of several structures.

People lived here. I kept getting the impression that this was where old spirits dwelt.

The hike to the top of Mystery Mountain was rough. Loose rock, mud and ice tested our endurance with every step.

The wind was awful, literally trying to blow us off the mountain. We stopped for a rest in an old wind-break.

But even with an angry wind making us suffer for our trespass, the views from atop Mystery Mountain could not be spoiled.

All in all, it was a great adventure. While the mystery of Mystery Rock remains unsolved, the area itself still holds an enchanting power and beckons all adventurers come who wish to uncover her secrets!

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About Universal Shift

I am the Sonata Unusual. I coat myself with some obtuse angle too far below zero to become any warmer. I create motivation, activate schemas, moisten gardens with scents of natural honeydew. Construct this meaning, you sleepy flock. Silence your singing—despairing contortions out of tune. Shatter the brittle butterfly glass with your hideous wailing. I am born of my god’s imagination. When I die I shall meet him. For there are many things to discuss over tea…or scotch.

Posted on January 18, 2012, in Author, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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