24 October 2010

The Enchanted Mesa

Welcome to my final travel blog for the season. New Mexico winters can be too harsh to travel in so I stick close to home and pretty much hibernate.

I'm not a big fan of winter unless I am in doors under ten blankets with the heater on.

My last planned excursion of the season took me again to the Acoma Pueblo, almost four hundred feet high on a butte in a remote region of western New Mexico between Grants and Gallup.

The view of the valley ad you enter from the other side is striking and this was a gorgeous day to be here: 70, light breeze, clouds.

Keep in mind you are not allowed to take pictures unless you have received a permit from the visitors center.

The cost at this time to visit Acoma Puelbo [which is also known as Sky City because of its position on the butte almost 400 feet above] was $20 and this includes your camera permit.

The most prominent building, which can be seen from most points on the butte, is the San Esteban del Rey Mission which was started in 1630 [32 years after Juan de Onate took possession of New Mexico for Spain.

Since then the Acoman people are Catholic mixed with traditional beliefs.

Acoma Pueblo is the oldest continuously occupied community in the US.
For further history on the Pueblo see my link at right from my first trip here.

The pueblo is not occupied full time by the families who own their houses. It is occupied during traditional ceremonies and special occasions like the fall feast day on 2 September in which outsiders are invited in to the homes of the people and fed.

During the summer and fall some of the residents do occupy the homes to welcome tourists. Tables are set up with jewelry and crafts, like this jewel box that in Santa Fe would easily cost you $100.

Lucky me...home made blueberry pies were for sale too... man this was soooo good.

...but I digress...

You totally feel like you are on a movie set, which by the way REDSKIN and WAY OUT WEST were filmed here.

There are no amenities here. No running water, electricity or plumbing, thus the port-o-potties everywhere.

The views are AMAZING!

The mesa in the distance is called Enchanted Mesa and is a spiritual place. No one is allowed to scale it to this day.

Mount Taylor can be seen in the distance.

After the tour, you are given the option of taking the tour bus back down or taking the 'rock' walk back.

The rock walk is a trail used by the early residents to go up and down the butte. It is NOT for the weak of heart. A few people found that out as the walk down began.

From the bottom of the trail you can get a good look at the pueblo up on the butte.

[click to enlarge]

Once you are back at the visitors center, I might suggest you stop by the cafe for some good grub, like the chips and roasted green chili avocado dip [yes yes, we put green chili in EVERYTHING here...]

And so ends another great travel season. I hope you have enjoyed the journey with me.

I'm out.