Friday, 11 October 2013

Pecos National Historical Park (before the shutdown!)

When we decided to visit Pecos NHP we had no idea just how much history there is in this park, from Pueblo Indians, the Santa Fe Trail, Civil War Battles, Old Route 66 to English movie stars!   It is a gem of a park and the rangers have to be some of the most helpful and friendly we’ve ever met.
On our first visit, yes we went more than once, we first hiked the Ruins trail.
Situated at the mouth of the narrow pass at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains, Pecos Pueblo was an important trading place between the Indians of the plains and the coast.  The pass now known as Glorieta Pass is one of the few easy places to cross this part of the Rocky Mountains, it was also a strategic location during the Civil War and on the Santa Fe Trail.
The pueblo was separated from the area where traders camped by a wall, the remains of which can be still be seen.   Obviously the residents of Pecos weren’t going to allow them inside the walls just in case they turned out not to be friendly.   Visitors are allowed to climb down into the reconstructed kiva,
this is what it was like inside.

The pueblo was once 4 stories high, the steps in this photograph lead up to the 2nd storey, another kiva is shown on the right.

Further along is the convento built by the Spanish.   The remains of the existing convento are built inside the walls of the original building, which was destroyed during the pueblo revolt.

Inside the convento looking towards the altar.

Looking from the convento towards Glorietta Mesa

In the afternoon we took the ranger tour to Arrowhead Ruin.   There are quite a few ruins that make up Pecos Peublo, but most of them are on private ground.   Arrowhead ruin is only accessible on a ranger tour.   Our tour was led by Ranger Eric who as a native of the Pecos area has a fount of local knowledge. 

Arrowhead Ruin was partially excavated with some areas reconstructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930’s.

The pueblo is in a strategic location on a bluff overlooking the Pecos valley.

Although it’s called Arrowhead Ruin, very few artifacts and no arrowheads have been found.   The name derives from Arrowhead Lodge at the bottom of the hill and once a stopping place on route 66.   A steep path led up from the Lodge to the ruins, so it’s more than likely that travelers back then took away ‘souvenirs’ of their visit.

Have fun, we are!

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