Thanks to Thomas and Cecile’s visit a month ago, we had a glimpse of Albuquerque. More to see, more to do; and the RV was stored there. So we left La Veta and returned to the real world, en route for Taos.
Taos is a nice little city, near the Rio Grande Canyon. Still elevated as all north New Nexico at 7000 ft, it’s cold at night.
We took the scenic road 14 to Albuquerque, to stay for a few days. When we had time, we hoped on the motorcycle for a ride on road 66, then making a stop on an ancient mission at the …
Quarai Mission Ruins
A small museum recalls the hard times of surviving in the region at the time (XVII°c). If the Spanish brought new good seeds and basic medicine to the pueblo people, the tribute taken by the colons was too much for this fragile society. All the local missions eventually collapsed and perished. The site was no reoccupied before the 19th century.
Besides the Quarai site, two other fields of ruins of the same age, with churche and village, are visitable in Abò and Gran Quivira.
About Pueblo history :
Before the spanish came, Pueblo indians had a stable agricultural society. Its members lived in densely organised house complexes. The two ancient main cultures in the southwest (Anasazi and Mogollon) overlapped in this valley. These groups existed more than 7000 years ago but this land was already visited by men 20’000 years ago.
By the 900s, with the help of new agricultural techniques, the Mogollon settlements in Salinas Valley grew. They started to build above ground adobe-like structures. In the 1100s, the Mogollon adopted the traditions from the Anasazi people and local villages turns into an interconnected, multiple storey adobe housing. Salinas Valley became a trade center and by the 1600s, over ten thousand people lived here, raised turkeys, hunted bisons, harvested wild plants, made baskets and pottery, traded salt, cotton, shells, cloth.
Spanish explorers came to the area in 1540, looking for fertile lands and mines. They found not of that and only Franciscan missionaries stayed, to christianize local people. This remote and poor area was not producing a good tribute and conflicts rose between the church and the Spanish local government over the tribute paid by Pueblos. New agriculture was introduced with wheat, grapes, fruit trees, goats and sheeps. The once friendly Apache people started to raid the Pueblo settlements and in the 1660s. Series of droughts caused famine and subsequent epidemics of newly introduced diseases. In the 1670s, the settlements collapsed and surviving indians left the spanish missions to traditional Pueblo villages. In the 1680s, they revolted against the spanish and managed to expell spaniards from New Mexico the area.
The next day, going for a bike ride on the Bosque Trail, running along the river.
Later, we leave the big city westward, headed to Gallup…