Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Remains of a Spanish mission, Pecos National Historical Park.

I decided to take a break from writing and go exploring this afternoon. Destination: Pecos, NM, east of Santa Fe. Reason: I read Pecos was the home of the late jazz musician, Herbie Mann, a good enough reason to check it out.

Driving south towards Santa Fe on Hwy 68 reminded me that Saturday is mercado day. Not only were there flea markets and a farmer's market and some fruit stands, but businesses and households displayed their wares on the roadside for sale. And the new crop of ristras are also appearing at fruitstands. A colorful sight.

Moving south, the Rio Grande gorge opens up and joins the highway at Pilar and I drove through the canyon alongside the very swollen river. I had hoped for a river raft ride this summer, but after reading about two fatal accidents the first week I arrived, my enthusiasm is dampened. All the rivers and streams are bulging, and its wonderful news for New Mexico, just not for river rafters.

Passed quickly through Santa Fe, which just seems like a big city from this Taoseno's perspective, and on to Pecos. Not much of a town though the country is gorgeous. I think I was wrong about Herbie Mann living there (I think he really lived in Santa Fe), but it got me out exploring.

I moved on to the Pecos National Historical Park, for a look at the site where the Pecos people lived from A.D. 800 till the late 1700s. Lucky people they were, for the land is gorgeous and friendly to human life and at the height of the culture, supported a community of 2000. There is a one mile circle walk through the site of the city, though only some kivas and the remains of this very photogenic mission church remain.

This site also has significance in archeology. Archeologist A.V. Kidder came to Pecos to test his theory of dating stratigraphy against the trash mounds here.He knew that the site's bottom layer would be the oldest. From changes in pottery and other remains layer by layer, he hoped to be able to relatively date sites and to work out a time sequence for Southwestern unwritten culture. His work opened up doors for a new way of studying the cultures of the Southwest.

It was a long trip, as distances are great here. Got home just at dusk. Total mileage: 230 miles!


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