Pecos NHP preserves the site of an ancestral pueblo that became a thriving cultural and trade center in the 1400s. Then in the 1600s, Spanish missionaries arrived and established a mission church at the pueblo. As is par for the course at these wonderful National Park Service park units, the introductory movie and exhibits in the Visitor Center provides a very good overview of what visitors see and experience while visiting the ruins of both of these parts of Pecos.
In the last couple of weeks we have seen the influences that the Native American culture has on the American Southwest – from art to architecture; from food to faith. We have really enjoyed this part of the country, and continuing on our visit-the-national-park-units quest, we visited two more sites — Pecos National Historical Park and Aztec Ruins National Monument. Here we have further learned and discovered what life was like for these natives who lived in communities, or pueblos, many hundreds of years ago.
Aztec Ruins NM also preserves a pueblo, but this one dates a bit earlier (late 1000s to late 1200s A.D.) and has weathered better. Of note at Aztec Ruins are great kivas; very large ceremonial / social rooms. The below slide show of photos conveys more of what we have seen when we have visited these remnants and ruins of these long-ago communities. We found the Aztec ruins particularly spectacular for they have survived some 900 years!
Now that we’re leaving New Mexico and heading into Utah, we’re driving through some more incredible scenery! This area, called Four Corners, is part of the great Colorado Plateau, and every vista seems more stunning than the next!
Speaking of Four Corners, here it is. This is the place where the four states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. We checked our atlas, saw we were going to be in the vicinity, and knew we just had to swing by for a photo. Four Corners Monument is located in the Navajo Nation, and they have erected a nice monument, sell handmade crafts and jewelry, and offer traditional Navajo foods nearby.