Today we drove south to the Pueblos of the Salinas Valley near the town of Mountainair N Mex. Stop first at the Visitor Center in Mountainair on Hwy 60 and view the film on the 3 Pueblos of Abo,Gran Quivira and Quarai.
The Pueblo Indians belonged to one of the kiva societies and followed the rules and in time of need were expected to help other groups. Participation in the Kachina rituals maintained the universal harmony allowing humans and plants to flourish. When the Franciscan priests entered into the Pueblos,they destroyed the Kivas and burned the Kachina masks.
Our first Pueblo stop 25 miles from the Visitor Center on Hwy 55 was Gran Quivira. As usual there were rattlesnake warning signs on the walk to this visitor center and from here the hike up to the ruins was 1/2 mile. I decided to stay in the visitor center and chat with Billy, the park ranger. He showed me a pair of Rattlesnake Gaiters that might interest me and which I think I will order. However, this might prevent a bite, but not the sight of one which would send me into panic. Anyway, enough of this.
Gran Quivira is the largest of the Salinas pueblos and was an important trade center. In the 1660's friars burned and filled kivas in an effort to exterminate their religion. In 1659 Apache raids began and in 1672 the pueblo was abandoned. Drought and wide-spread famine killed 450 people during the 1660's.
Our next stop was Quarai 13 miles from Mountainair off Hwy 55. This was also a thriving pueblo in the late 1500's. Three of the priests were head of the New Mexico Inquisition during the 1600's. This was the smallest of the three missions. They,too, fled the Apache hostilities in 1675 to El Paso. At its peak, the pueblo had 1,000 rooms and around 600-700 residents of both native and Spanish.
|Quarai Visitor Center|
|As it once Appeared|
Our last stop was Abo located west of Mountainair opening onto the Rio Grande Valley. This was also an important trade area trading salt, hides and pinon nuts. It was thriving when the Spaniards visited in 1581. Franciscans began converting the Abo residents in 1622 and late 1620's the first church was completed. Once again disasters struck and the Abo left between 1672 and 1678 taking refuge along the Rio Grande.
|Abo Visitor Center|
|John in Front of Church|
The National Park Service has done a wonderful job of maintaining the ruins. Also, there is no entry fee, but a donation would be accepted.
Oh yes, I did walk around the last two sites.