Road Trip: Pecos National Historical Park

April 11, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

New Mexico became the 47th state to join the United States on January 6, 1912. The capital city is Santa Fe. The highest point is Wheeler Peak at 13,161 feet.

Road Trip 2013 - Day 15 - June 25 - Pecos National Historical Park (Previous 2013 Road Trip posts: Indiana DunesDe ImmigrantAmana ColoniesDes MoinesMadison County Roads, Bridges of Madison CountyWhite Pole Road, Great Platte River Road Archway MonumentGolden Spike Tower & Union Pacific's Bailey Rail Yard, Loveland PassThe Resting Day at Powderhorn, Black Canyon of the GunnisonCimarronColorado National MonumentFruita Rodeo, Grand MesaArches National ParkGrand Junction, Grand Mesa CreekArches National Park Add-On, Canyonlands National ParkThe Little Big Moments of Road Tripping, Mesa Verde National Park, Santa FeSanta Fe Train Depot, Pecos National Historical Park)

First Glimpse of Route 66, New MexicoFirst GlimpseRoute 66 Leaving Santa Fe, its architecture, and it's colorful trains behind we were on the road again, with each day feeling more and more like a return home. It was a Day 15 after all and the remaining days were getting shorter. I was really looking forward to a whole different type of photography on this final section. What type is that? The type that screams Road Trip!

As we left Santa Fe behind there were colors everywhere. Deep saturated blue sky overhead, and bright warm colors throughout the landscape around. Southwest as it should be in its full glory. Then, we reached this beautiful Route 66 marker made of rock and got even more excited about what was to come soon.

Pecos Kiva, Pecos National Historical Park, New MexicoKivaPecos National Historical Park We had to contain that excitement though as we identified another stop along our journey. Pecos National Historical Park was right along the way and it would be a shame not to get another dose of history and learn something new about the days gone by in this area. And, it would be a shame not to take advantage of the annual National Park pass that opens most "national" landmarks at no additional fee.

They had a nice museum at the visor center but I always prefer the in person observation and exploration, which in this case was outside. The sun was hot but the colors all around were breathtaking. I did not have much chance to think about my discomfort as I was too busy looking around thinking of what angles would work the best to capture this place for years of memories to come. The only stain on an otherwise quiet, almost idyllic afternoon was the sight of distant wildfires, a stark reminder of the extremely dry conditions in this area.

Inside Pecos Kiva, Pecos National Historical Park, New MexicoInside Pecos KivaPecos National Historical Park

The restored Kiva located at the park was a great place to visit. Please, see the references at the bottom to learn more historic facts about the different structures and their purpose. I appreciated the Kiva, an underground ceremonial room, as an ingenious way to hide from the scorching sun. Then in winter, being underground, it surely provided a much better starting point for heating it up compared to anything above ground. The ladder opening also served as a "chimney", or a smoke escape hole for the fire that would have been located directly underneath. Despite that, the various materials I have read through suggest the inside was unbearably smoky anyway since there was nothing to direct the open fire to the opening. Even worse, the hole dwelling suffered from what a normal chimney suffers from. Once there was enough soot build up on the ceiling you can imagine what a rouge spark could cause. To make it a little more bearable inside, there was a ventilation hole on one side, separated from the fire by a stone wall.

Doesn't visiting places like this make you think? I had similar thoughts running through my head at the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, as well as here at Pecos. Comparing what we have and often complain with what people here had just several hundred years ago. How little one really needs to live. What's really needed to be happy. And more along those lines.

At the end of the park loop we explored the ruins of an old Spanish Mission. A bit of a bittersweet feeling. One one hand, it looked to be a wonderful structure back in the day, on the other, it was quite an intrusion to the lives of the Cicuye village people.

And photographically, everything remained gorgeous. Deep blue sky, wonderful white clouds floating around, by then lots of warm light from the afternoon sun traveling downward towards the horizon. I found several angles on the Mission that I liked a lot and am sharing only one of them here. However, a place like this offers never-ending opportunities!

Mission Ruins, Pecos National Historical Park, New MexicoPecos Mission RuinsPecos National Historical Park

Mission Ruins, Pecos National Historical Park, New Mexico

Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you (#etbtsy)!

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References:  New Mexico on 50statesPecos National Historical Park - Pecos National Historical Park on Wikipedia - Pecos National Historical Park on DesertUSA - Interpretive tour of Pecos NHP via rap music on - Spanish Encounters on - Pecos National Historical Park on Wikipedia - Sipapu on Wikipedia - Anasazi Kivas on


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