History and Folklore of the Rio Puerco Valley

Guided by Nasario Garcia and Tom Windes

Field Trip

Friday, June 25, 2010, 7:30 am–5:00 pm

San Luis ChurchSan Luis ChurchPhotograph courtesy Nasario García.San Luis ChurchPhotograph courtesy Nasario García.

The austere Rio Puerco Valley has attracted a continuum of inhabitants, from Ancestral Puebloans to Navajos to Hispanic farmers. We will learn the long history and folklore of the towns of Guadalupe and San Luis and explore the Chaco-era Guadalupe Ruin with two outstanding guides, Nasario García and Tom Windes.

Oral historian and folklorist Nasario García, who has published eight books on the Río Puerco Valley, spent his childhood living on a homestead settled in the 1880s by his grandfather near the village of Guadalupe. Now a ghost town, Guadalupe was an established farming and ranching community with some 161 inhabitants around 1910; however, by the late 1950s, drought and overgrazing depleted the productivity of the valley. The village of San Luis, known primarily for its sheep-raising, also sprang to life in the 1860s but declined during WW I and II, when many young men left and did not want to return to ranch life. Although a ghost town today, San Luis has a well-kept church and morada, thanks to continued interest among the old-timers’ descendants who reside primarily in Albuquerque.

The Guadalupe Ruin is one of these so-called “outliers.” With an estimated 25 rectangular rooms and three kivas, the ruin sits at the highest point on a steep-walled mesa accessed by a narrow path that climbs 100 feet above the valley floor—offering a panoramic view of the Rio Puerco Valley and its volcanic plugs, including the spectacular Cabezón.

Activity Level: Moderately Strenuous (note: there are no modern-day bathroom facilities)

Cost: $75 per person, includes guide honorarium, 4WD transportation from Santa Fe, and a picnic lunch.

Trip Registration: Participation in SAR field trips is one of the benefits of membership. To make registration equitable, we will begin accepting trip reservations Monday, December 14, 2009, 8am to 5pm, for our Spring 2010 field trips. Beginning on that day, please call the SAR Membership Office at (505) 954-7203 to register or to receive additional information about any of these trips. Group size is limited. Reserve your space early.

For more information, visit the Field Trips section.

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