When I was back home the next day, I found in a quick web search that Alexander Gardner had made a picture while standing at nearly the same spot in 1868:
|Wikipedia -- Photo by Alexander Gardner|
The oasis at El Morro was used by many cultures over a period of centuries, so it is possible that the surroundings were denuded of trees by people's needs for wood for construction and fire making. It is also conceivable that the management of the runoff from the cliffs and protection of the surroundings have allowed new growth without precedent. Hard to say for sure.
Here are a few more shots made on our last visit to the site:
We stayed the night about a mile down the road from El Morro at a charming little cabin behind the Ancient Way Cafe:
The El Morro site is also know as Inscription Rock due to the many ancient petroglyphs and more recent graffiti which adorn the sandstone cliffs. The light on this visit was not conducive to making images of the rock art, but I did get some pictures of it on a previous visit: