Abo was our second stop of the day as we wandered our way back towards civilization. Partway along, I discovered that I was the navigator and should be paying attention to our route .... oh well, a few minutes later we came upon the sign for Abo, took the turn, and found our way .....
Abo has a shorter path/trail than we experienced at Quarai. The road into the park is shared by locals who live next to this piece of history. Rediscovered in 1853, the finder initially recognized the church building, but didn't recognize the bits and pieces of wall aroud the church.
Built in the same style as most pueblos, there are many rooms, a plaza w/ Kivas, and the newest building - the church - is the largest building and placed centrally next to the Kivas. A difference is seen in the architectural style ..... the rock walls have more evenly spaced rocks, and less adobe between them ... making this building style more typical of the Caco Canyon region in my mind.
I found the arroyo the most intruquing feature of the pueblo .... the rocks, plants and still water in this arroyo makes this a wonderful view ....... and for some reason brought a spiritual peace to me. So I walked it twice.
There is also a gravesite on the grounds. A previous caretaker who spent his life caring for these ruins - before and after National Park Status - is interred on the path. We paid our respects to this man who made our day here possible through his protection of the land and it's history.
This was our first stop of the day ..... we wandered upon these ruins, and into the park. Our wandering continued as we followed the paths through and around the ruins.
Like many of the local ruins, they are only partially excavated - large mounds around the area contain more of the buried city. The day we were there, a team was working on continued excavations .... a slow process in the heat of New Mexico.
The first stop on this walk is the ruins of the church and related buildings. The church doorway is intact - beams still hold the rock wall over your head as you enter.
The paths have numbered plaques along the route - embedded in the earth. These numbers related to the items in the trail guide from the contact center at the entrance. The trail guide is loaned to walkers from the office, and is to be returned at the end of the walk. The guide provides intriguing information gathered from archeological studies of the region, and of Quarai in particular.
There is another path - about a mile long - that takes you over a bridge and around the surrounding region. Unfortunately for us, the path was already closed for the day ......
During our wanderings we saw wild squash - future gourds should one wish to wait for them to dry ...... cottontail bunnies ..... a large snake (I THINK it was a king snake - rattler markings but no rattle) .... lizards ....... beetles ..... fire ants ...... wildflowers ..... trees ........ so much nature :)
The people of Salinas Pueblo Missions left the area 300 years ago. They where believed to be decendents of the Anasazi and the Mogollon .... native ancestors known to be in the region over 7000 years ago.
These pueblos were agricultural centers and became large cities of stone with large plazas which contained spiritual places of worship and ceremony known as Kivas. Hundred of apartment-like rooms contained the inhabitants of each pueblo.
Early exploration of the New Mexico region ocured during the 1500's. By the 1600's, the riches of New Mexico were considered largely legend. The nearby salt field was considered a great find - but this was not enough to maintain the presence of the Spanish military in the region. Pope Phillip II had charged the Spanish crown with Christianizing the New World natives ... so regional missions were built and maintained at the cost of the government of Spain.
Abuses in the mission system by the local government led to strained relationships between the Natives and the Spanish. Combined with attacks from neighboring Native cultures, and natural climactic changes, these forces combined to create the end of an era ..... these missions were abandoned.
This resettlement eventually led these people down to the El Paso region where the Salinas Natives were assimilated by the Native tribes of that region ... making the Salinas Native one of the few tribes of that era to completely loose their language, land and culture.
As you drive to Quarai, you'll pass through a small town of Tajique - there's a liquor store, convenience mart and gas station - all the things a traveler needs out here in the boondocks of New Mexico. Your next opportunity would be over in Mountainair .... so if you are close to a quarter of a tank, or needing a bit to drink, this is the place!
When wandering more rural areas of New Mexico, you'll have the opportunity to come across various forms of wildlife - mostly harmless, but occassionally harmful.
You'll see signs instructiong you to remain on the paths to respect the privacy of the local snakes ..... HELLO!!! Snakes don't READ! But fortunately, they do tend to avoid areas of food traffic, and our wanderings interrupt their naps. Therefore staying on the path is helpful and bushwacking is highly discouraged.
The following information on firstaid for snakebites was obtained from the University of Maryland Medical Center website:
How are snake bites treated?
Call for emergency assistance immediately if someone has been bitten by a snake. Responding quickly in this type of emergency is crucial.
While waiting for emergency assistance:
Wash the bite with soap and water.
Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart.
Cover the area with a clean, cool compress or a moist dressing to minimize swelling and discomfort.
Monitor vital signs.
If a victim is unable to reach medical care within 30 minutes, the American Red Cross recommends:
Apply a bandage, wrapped two to four inches above the bite, to help slow the venom. This should not cut off the flow of blood from a vein or artery - the band should be loose enough to slip a finger under it.
A suction device can be placed over the bite to help draw venom out of the wound without making cuts. These devices are often included in commercial snake bite kits.
Once a medical facility is reached, the medical team will need to know animal and drug allergies, as well as the type of snake. This is where a cool head is helpful, as you can obtain this information (or provide it to someone else) in an emergency. If you don't know the type of snake, describe it - most local caregivers know their local flora and fauna well enough to figure it our from there :)
As we wandered the ruins we played and enjoyed the beauty of nature and man .......
We also noticed these strings over all of the route signs along the path. Were they to keep birds from landing? To dry your clothes upon? Peachitish decided to try and make music by changing the tension on the line - sort of a one stringed guitar :)
Fondest memory: Miracles can appear out of the simplest things in the world ... as we were leaving Abo, we discovered the magic of these simple little amusements ..... as the storm arrived, music filled the air .... as the wind vibrated these little strings.
So, listen .... you will be amazed ....
Each of the three ruins in this park have contact centers. These centers have the ranger's office, may have a small museum, and have trail guides for loan. I enjoyed picking up the trail guide, I found it helpful as I wandered the paths.
I also enjoy talking with the rangers .... they not only know the history of the ruins, they also know little details to help make your day more enjoyable.
So this tip is to reccomend you stop and pick up the guide, as well as to make contact w/ the ranger on duty.
Fondest memory: .... taking turns reading the guide aloud as we wandered the trail, laughing and making editorial comments ;)
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