A blog about exploring the natural areas of New Mexico focusing on but not limited to Dona Ana, Luna, Otero, Sierra, Grant, Lincoln,Socorro and Catron counties.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Salinas Pueblos National Monument
I 'm finding it hard to talk about these places in a way that is satisfactory to me.The feeling they evoke is elusive, and yet is at the very essence of the New Mexico experience for me. A collision of the mundane and mysterious. Hopelessly remote and forgotten at one time,but now accessible by paved roads- in the case of Abo just a stone's throw from US Highway 60, though still quite far from major population centers. Perhaps it's just the visuals that capture my imagination: the red stone of Abo against the cloudless blue sky, the soaring walls of Quarai, the honeycomb of gray stone that is the pueblo of Gran Quivira. Each setting is different as well: chaparral and bare rock arroyos at Abo, the foothills evergreen forest at Quarai, and the vast plains and low mesas of Gran Quivira. The lush riparian areas fed by springs at Abo and Quarai made them targets for resettlement in the 19th century. Gran Quivira now sits strangely atop a juniper studded hill surrounded by waterless( until advent of wells and the windmill) grasslands where livestock graze. We've visited Abo twice now, Quarai and Gran Quivira once. Abo and Quarai were stops on backroads trips to and from Santa Fe. Gran Quivira is not on the way to anything, at least not from Las Cruces. Take some time to visit these places when you're in need of perspective. You will be rewarded.