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‘Old West’ remains in New Mexico

November 13, 2013

John Wayne rode his horse along the Turquoise Trail in New Mexico. In earlier centuries, so did Apaches, Spanish soldiers and crusty miners in earlier centuries.

Last winter, we spent a day exploring the trail instead of zipping along I25 from Santa Fe to Albuquerque in an hour.

Besides seeing the old Western movie scenes, we got intriguing lessons in history, geology and changing lifestyles along this 60-mile national scenic byway, Highway 14.

“The Cowboys,” starring Wayne, “Young Guns,” “Outrageous Fortune” and many others were filmed in the area.

Since at least 900 A.D., the Indians mined turquoise, an opaque, blue-green gem containing copper and aluminum. They also used galena from there in black glaze on pots. In 1581, a Spanish miner-soldier found silver. Some turquoise found its way to the crown jewels of Spain.

The mining boom of 1879-1884 left about 4,000 pits, holes and shafts, many still visible today. “Prehistoric peoples made their homes here. Outlaws and confederate soldiers camped in the area. Kit Carson marched Navajos along the trail in their Long Walk to incarceration at Fort Sumner.”

Porous rocks south of Santa Fe introduce travelers to the “Gardens of the Gods Sculpture Center.”
Carl and Janet Roehl of Grand Rapids recount their trip to the Southwest earlier this year in a series of columns and photos.

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Upcoming Event

Turquoise Trail Studio Tour

September 25 & 26 and October 2-10, 2021
When visiting New Mexico in the Fall, whether for the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque or the charms of Santa Fe, come explore the talented artists along the Turquoise Trail Studio Tour on scenic Highway 14. Over 35 artists from Cedar Crest, Madrid and Cerrillos will have their studio and gallery doors open for your visit, meet the artists and purchase their art work. Each Studio Tour artist will have a ?"Turquoise Trail Studio Tour” sign in front of their studio or gallery on the days they are open for a visit, to meet the artist and purchase their work. For more information, map and links visit https://www.turquoisetrailstudiotour.info/


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