Salinas Pueblo Missions, Part II

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Abo is not far from Quarai (see previous post) though present roads take one around three sides of a trapezoid.  It appears to have been about a ten mile walk south from Quarai to Abo along the eastern slope of the Manzano Mountains in the days when the Spanish missions were built.  The sites are similar, but have worn and are maintained differently.


The Abo church and its buildings are surrounded by yellow grass – it would be good food for cattle if they were allowed in.  Instead of scraps of stone on the hillside, there are huge stone slabs where water ran.100_0930A

I came close to one ruin of a Pueblo building.  It is just tumbled stone, suggesting that one strong point for the Spanish conquerors was the ability to make better mortar.pueblo house A

Two plants particularly caught my attention.  The first was an nicely shaped four-wing saltbush.  Its four-winged seeds will turn golden in the fall.  I have one of these in my back yard; it gets too much water apparently, due to other plants around it, and is very shaggy.saltbush A

Another well-shaped plant I came across at Abo is one I have found in the arroyo near our house in a good season.  It shows up in summer after rain and is covered with white flowers all at once.  They don’t last long.  I have not learned its name.white flower A


Salinas Missions, Part 1

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On a trip to northern New Mexico last weekend I stopped to visit two of the Salinas Missions.  The Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, established in 1981, consists of three separate sites.  Each was once a native American pueblo, inhabited by people who spoke Tiwa.  Each became a Spanish mission site, with a big church and a number of outbuildings.  At only one site, Gran Quivera, is there much of the pueblo to see.  I visited that place quite a few years ago, before I had a digital camera.  Now that I’ve seen the other two, I am eager to go back.

This post is about Quarai, located north of Mountainair.  The church there is the best preserved and is often photographed.


Below is an attempt to photograph a grass I don’t know the name of, which has quite large heads for a grass.  I wondered if it is edible.

grassQuarai has a one mile “primitive” trail beyond the once settled area, where the “trail” is paved.  It becomes clear that the stone for building did not have to be brought from far away.

stone trail

Looking from the trail toward the green near the entrance to the ruins I had complicated thoughts: this green is neither natural nor a reconstruction of what was there when the Spanish mission was operating.  How hard the park service works, simply for our enjoyment!  Our tax dollars at work.


Two pictures show how different plants share space.  The first shows the orange flowers of desert globemallow, a plant which grows six feet tall and blows in the breeze in my back yard.


This second picture was an attempt to capture the sense of fall: red berries on what I believe is a sumac.  It is so intertwined with other plants that it is hard to tell.


My next post will have pictures from Abo, the third of the three Spanish pueblo mission sites in the National Monument.