Sunday, 10 November 2013

Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico

Snow covered the top of the Sangre De Christos mountains on a sunny but very chilly day as we drove north on I25 to Fort Union, once the largest military post in the southwest.
On the edge of the plains the fort was established to protect surrounding settlements and travelers on the Santa Fe Trail from Comanche, Kiowa and Apache.

The view across the plains from the road leading to Fort Union.

Fort Union from the same spot.

The fort was the main supply depot for other New Mexico forts, anything and everything you could think of was purchased or traded at the fort which was probably the Walmart of its day!

Wagon ruts from the Santa Fe Trail cover the plains around the fort and in places the ruts form deep ditches.   I don’t know why but I always imagined the wagons went in single file, in places there were so many ruts it looked like an interchange on I40!
If you look closely you can see a depression in the ground, this is part of the Santa Fe Trail.
The fort that stands today is the third fort, two other forts were built, the first was built in a star shape the second was so close to the bluffs that it was within easy reach of enemy canons.
Officers Quarters

A cool wind blew across the plains the day we visited, whistling around the remains of the fort, we were told that the wind drove some people mad.   I loved the wide open views, but DB said it’d get to him after a while.
The wide open plains from the edge of the fort.

Rangers and preservators were busy working on the adobe walls on one section of the fort on another section they were working on the foundations of one of the buildings.

The fort covers a large area
and was home to many different types of building, Sutlers Stores, Stables, laundry, Officers and Mens Quarters, Laundry and even a jail.  
The jail and remains of the laundry
A huge hospital lay a short distance away and was used by both those at the fort and the local population.
After weeks of travel along the Santa Fe Trail, crossing mountains, rivers, plains, canyons, in all types of weather arriving at the fort must’ve been a huge relief.
We had no idea there was so much history in this area and we only covered a fraction of what there is to see, I think we'll have to come back!

Have fun, we are!