2011 Southwestern USA travel blog

Cochiti, NM - Cochiti Lake COE - Buffalo Grove Site 59

Cochiti, NM - Cochiti Lake COE - Buffalo Grove Site 59, another...

Cochiti, NM - Cochiti Lake COE - Buffalo Grove Site 59, the...

Cochiti, NM - Cochiti Lake COE - Buffalo Grove Site 59 -...

Raton to Cochiti, NM 0 - our route - 221 miles -...

Raton to Cochiti, NM 1

Raton to Cochiti, NM 2 - another pronghorn antelope herd - we...

Raton to Cochiti, NM 3

Raton to Cochiti, NM 4

Raton to Cochiti, NM 5 - flat land and no traffic -...

Raton to Cochiti, NM 6 - we are on the Sante Fe...

Raton to Cochiti, NM 7

Raton to Cochiti, NM 8 - looks like another volcano

Raton to Cochiti, NM 9

Raton to Cochiti, NM 10

Raton to Cochiti, NM 11

Raton to Cochiti, NM 12

Raton to Cochiti, NM 13

Raton to Cochiti, NM 14 - no, the bank and the school...

Raton to Cochiti, NM 15 - lots of yellow wildflowers as we...

Raton to Cochiti, NM 16 - some of Sante Fe as we...

Raton to Cochiti, NM 17 - The Cochiti Lake Dam as we...

Fort Union 1

Fort Union 2 - part of the old fort from a distance

Fort Union 3 - another part of the fort

Fort Union 4 - the 12 inch mountain howzer

Fort Union 5

Fort Union 6 - the six mule army wagon

Fort Union 7

Fort Union 8 - the deep depression caused by the wagon trains...

Fort Union 9 - the Mothership and Libby waiting in the parking...

Fort Union 10

Fort Union 11 - the post officer's quarters

Fort Union 12 - notice that there was a two forts within...

Fort Union 13 - a Bluebird resting on one of the chimneys

Fort Union 14 - some of the outlying buildings such as the...

Fort Union 15 - the layout and a couple of pictures of...

Fort Union 16 - the supply depot officer's quarters

Fort Union 17 - a sundial still standing and working

Fort Union 18 - the Quartermaster's quarters and office

Fort Union 19 - one of the storage buildings

Fort Union 20 - another of the storehouses

Fort Union 21 - the mechanic's corral where the wagons were repaired

Fort Union 22

Fort Union 23 - one of the wells near the enlisted quarters

Fort Union 24 - requiste wildflowers - we haven't seen these before

Fort Union 25 - the five-room jail

Fort Union 26 - the adobe requires constant maintenance

Fort Union 27 - the married enlisted quarters - one room homes

Fort Union 28 - the hospital

Pecos Pueblo 1

Pecos Pueblo 2 - part of the ridge the pueblo was built...

Pecos Pueblo 3 - the mission church

Pecos Pueblo 4 - lots of cholla around here

Pecos Pueblo 5 - the kiva - this one has had the...

Pecos Pueblo 6 - the kiva lower left with housing surrounding it

Pecos Pueblo 7 - these mounds are ruins that haven't been excavated...

Pecos Pueblo 8 - the view of the valley from the ridge

Pecos Pueblo 9 - some of the ruins that have been excavated

Pecos Pueblo 10 - another view of the mission from the other...

Pecos Pueblo 11

Pecos Pueblo 12

Pecos Pueblo 13

Pecos Pueblo 14 - more ruins just outside the church

Bandelier Trip 0 - our route - 184 miles

Bandelier Trip 1 - North of Santa Fe heading to Bandelier National...

Bandelier Trip 2

Bandelier Trip 3

Bandelier Trip 4

Bandelier Trip 5

Bandelier Trip 6

Bandelier Trip 7

Bandelier Trip 8

Bandelier Trip 9

Bandelier Trip 10

Bandelier Trip 11 - we have left Bandelier National Monument and have...

Bandelier Trip 12

Bandelier Trip 13 - one of the burned areas from the Los...

Bandalier Trip 14 - down in the canyon formed by the Jemez...

Bandelier Trip 15

Bandelier Trip 16

Bandelier Trip 17 - Jemez Springs

Bandelier Trip 18

Bandelier Trip 19 - leaving Jemez Springs and now headed back to...

Bandelier Trip 20

Bandelier Trip 21 - the whole side of the house was a...

Bandelier Trip 22 - getting closer to home now

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 1 - the area still shows evidence of being...

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 2 - hard to believe this small Frijoles Creek...

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 3 - a kiva without the roof - you...

Bandalier Nat'l Monument 4 - the wall of the Frijoles Canyon

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 5 - the housing area is half way up...

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 6 - the canyon wall holes were the back...

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 7 - the large pueblo near the canyon walls

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 8 - you can only see the foundation walls....

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 9 - this is how the reconstructed house looked...

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 10 - this again shows how the home was...

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 11

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 12 - a bat cave

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 13 - can you find the turkey petroglyph

Bandelier Nat'l Monument 14 - looking down the canyon where it narrows...

Jemez State Monument 1 - the church

Jemez State Monument 2

Jemez State Monument 3 - the interior and bell tower

Jemez State Monument 4 - the church from the front

Jemez State Monument 5 - part of the pueblo near the church

Jemez State Monument 6 - another kiva with the roof reconstructed

Jemez State Monument 7 - a Spanish Horno, a wood-fired outdoor oven


Our trip from Raton to Cochiti Lake, NM covered 221 miles including a 16 mile detour to Fort Union National Historic Site and another 12 mile detour to Pecos National Historic Park. Most of the travel was along good roads on Interstate 25 so we made good time but it was still an eight hour day after the two stops. We are staying at a Corp of Engineer campground on Cochiti Lake about 30 minutes Northwest of Santa Fe, NM. The lake was created by damming up the Rio Grande River, yes the same river that separates Texas and Mexico. It starts North of here in the Colorado Rockies. We have found that most rivers that are west of the Mississippi River originate in the Colorado Rockies. That's probably not news to most of you but it is something we had never thought about and we're glad to have learned it, but even happier to have experienced a good bit of it. We have 50 amps and water, good Verizon coverage and adequate internet coverage with the MiFi. There are few trees of any size in the campground so DirecTV was quick and easy as well.

We spent Monday and Tuesday relaxing, enjoying the view and catching up on a few things around the Mothership. We have now filled up our hiking sticks with the badges so it was time to get a couple more sticks when we found them at Bandelier National Monument on Wednesday when we visited it.

Our stop at Fort Union National Historic Site was about two hours long while we toured the old fort. That entailed about a one mile plus hike around the different structures that have had their deterioration arrested and are being reconstructed and saved for all of us to see how things were a 150 years ago. Fort Union was the largest fort in the West and acted as a supply center on the Santa Fe Trail to supply all the other forts in the Southwest.

We next stopped at the Pecos National Historic Park for about the same amount of time and length of hike. This was probably the largest overall pueblo we have seen on this trip as it covered more than a quarter-mile on top of the ridge where it was constructed. It was built by much later natives than the ancient ones or the Anasazi that we saw around Mesa Verde or Hovenweep. The Pecos Pueblo still had 27 inhabitants at the beginning of the US Civil War though they left soon after. This is also the first pueblo we have seen containing a church. Like I said, these were much later natives that were there when North America was discovered by the Spaniards. The Conquistadors and the accompanying friars had a great deal to do with religion being pushed on them in that time frame. The church in the pictures was the third church built at this pueblo.

After visiting these two sites my curiosity had been aroused by the designation: "National Historic Park." We have been to several Historic Sites but Pecos was the first Historic Park. After a little research I found a great article on the different designations at this government site.

Wednesday, we made a large loop (184 miles) East through Santa Fe, North and West to Bandelier National Monument, farther West to Los Alamos to visit the Bradbury Science Museum, then on West and South to Jemez Springs to visit the Jemez State Historic Site and completed the drive East and North back to Cochiti Lake.

The Bandelier National Monument had just reopened Frijoles Canyon Monday after being closed due to the Las Conchas Fire which started June 26 when a tree fell on a power line and eventually burned 156,000 acres, becoming the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. Due to the loss of trees, flooding is now the largest danger to the area and the normal visitor center is closed since they have moved the artifacts to safer ground. We had to park in White Rock (about 20 minutes away) and take a shuttle to the temporary visitor center near the normal one. We hiked the Main Loop Trail by all of the pueblo areas and found it to be similar to others we had seen yet different in its own way. No matter how many of these we see, we are amazed to see both the similarities and the differences considering they were built during completely different times and by vastly different peoples.

Next we went to Los Alamos, nicknamed "The Atomic City", where we enjoyed lunch and a visit to the Bradbury Science Museum which is a free museum maintained by the Los Alamos National Laboratory. We watched the very interesting movie "The Town That Never Was" which covers how Los Alamos was established and the first nuclear bomb developed. We also watched another movie "Mission: Stockpile Stewardship" which covers how the lab continues to find ways to test our stockpile of weapons to make sure they are safe and will be able to be used reliably if the need ever arises. They have to do this without actually exploding any of them due to the current nuclear treaties with other countries. Needless to say, computers play a huge role in this and they have developed some very complicated programs to accomplish this. The museum had the most interactivity of any museum we have ever seen with displays and audio/video stations that allowed you to learn about anything you wanted to know about our nuclear program at your own pace and without interruption.

After a couple of hours in Los Alamos we headed on west and South to Jemez Springs to see the Jemez State Monument which has a small museum, but the main attraction is the pueblo and adjacent church built there. This church was also built by the friars accompanying the Conquistadors when they took over the region about the same time they did likewise at the Pecos Pueblo. They also had a nicely refurbished Kiva complete with roof. This visit lasted less than hour but was well worth the effort.

I am going to go ahead and post this so it doesn't become so large, and I will post again September 4 as to what we cover between now and then. That probably will not be much as the weekend of football is in there as well.

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |