Copyright
C. A. (Charles A.) Higgins.

To California over the Sante Fé Trail online

. (page 3 of 11)
Online LibraryC. A. (Charles A.) HigginsTo California over the Sante Fé Trail → online text (page 3 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


The Old

Governor's

Palace.





More than a score of these many-
chambered communal homes are scat-
tered over New Mexico. Taos,
Picuris, San Juan, Santa Clara, San Ilde-
fonso, Pojoaque, Nambe and Teseque
are within twenty to ninety-five miles of Santa
Fe, their population varying from twenty-five
to four hundred persons. From Domingo one may
reach the pueblos of Cochiti, San Domingo and San
Felipe, while Sandia, Jemez, Zia and Santa Ana are
in the vicinity of Albuquerque. Few tourists know
that the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico own 900,000
acres of land, and that since the treaty of Guadeloupe
Hidalgo in 1848 they have been full-fledged United
States citizens, though not voting, and maintaining
their own forms of government. Three of the most
important pueblos are Isleta, Laguna, and Acoma.
Isleta and Laguna are within a stone's throw of the
railroad, ten miles and sixty-six miles, respectively,
beyond Albuquerque, and Acoma is reached from
Laguna or Cubero by a drive of fifteen miles. Meals
and lodging may be obtained at several places near
the depot. Team and driver for Acoma costs
38





$5-OO for one passenger and $6.00 for two. The
trip may be made in a day.

The aboriginal inhabitants of the pueblos, an
intelligent, complex, industrious and independent
race, are anomalous among North American natives.
Many are housed to-day in the self-same structures
in which their forebears were discovered, and in
three and a half centuries of contact with Europeans
their manner of life has not materially changed.
The Indian tribes that roamed over mountain and
plain have become wards of the Government.
But the Pueblo Indian has absolutely maintained
the integrity of his individuality, self-respecting and
self-sufficient. The extent to which he has adopted
the religion of his Spanish conquerers, or the
teachings of his present guardians, amounts to
only a slight concession from his persistent con-
servatism.

Laborious efforts have been made to penetrate
the reserve with which the involved inner life of
this strange child of the desert is guarded, but
It lies like a vast dark continent behind a dimly
visible shore, and he dwells within the shadowy
rim of a night that yields no ray to tell of his
origin.




fusblo ofZuni.




'-. Hotel Alvarado,
Albuquerque.



He is a true pagan, swathed in seem-
ti ingly dense clouds of superstition, rich in
fanciful legend, and profoundly cere-
monious in religion. His gods are
innumerable. Not even the ancient Greeks pos-
sessed a more populous Olympus. On that austere
yet familiar height gods of peace and of war, of the
chase, of bountiful harvest and of famine, of sun
and rain and snow, elbow a thousand others for
standing-room. The trail of the serpent has
crossed his history, too, and he frets his pottery
with an imitation of its scales, and gives the rattle-
snake a prominent place among his deities.
Unmistakably a pagan, yet the purity and well-
being of his communities will bear favorable com-
parison with those of the enlightened world. He is
brave, honest and enterprising within the fixed limits
of his little sphere, his wife is virtuous, his children
are docile. And were the whole earth swept bare
40




of every living thing, save for a few leagues sur-
rounding his tribal home, his life would show little
disturbance. Possibly he might not at once learn
of so unimportant an occurrence. He would still
alternately labor and relax in festive games, still
reverence his gods, and rear his children to a life
of industry and content, so anomalous is he, so
firmly established in an absolute independence.

Pueblo architecture possesses nothing of the elab-
orate ornamentation found in so-called Aztec ruins
in Mexico. The house is usually built of stone,
covered with adobe cement, and is severely plain.
It is commonly two or three stories in height, of
terrace form, and joined to its neighbors. The
prevailing entrance is by means of a ladder to the
roof of the lowest story.

The most strikingly interesting of New Mexican
pueblos is Acoma. It is built upon the summit of
a table-rock with eroded precipitous sides, 350 feet
above the plain, which is 7,000 feet above the sea.




Pueblo of Laguna.



Acoma pueblo is 1 ,000 feet in length and 40 feet
high, and there is besides a church of enormous
proportions. Formerly it was reached only by a
hazardous stairway in the rock, up which the inhab-
itants carried upon their backs every particle of the
materials of which the village is constructed; but
easier pathways now exist. The graveyard con-
sumed forty years in building, by reason of the
necessity of bringing earth from the plain below ;
and the church must have cost the labor of many
generations, for its walls are 60 feet high and 10
feet thick, and it has timbers 40 feet long and 14
inches square.

The Acomas welcomed the soldiers of Coronado
with deference, ascribing to them celestial origin.
Subsequently, upon learning the distinctly human
character of the Spaniards, they professed allegiance,
but afterward wantonly slew a dozen of Zaldivar's
men.

By way of reprisal Zaldivar headed threescore
soldiers and undertook to carry the sky-citadel by
42




team of horses. By these aids the summit was
reached, but the party reported that nothing was
found to indicate that it had ever been visited
before by man.

A few weeks later, Dr. F. W. Hodge, of the
Bureau of Ethnology, made the ascent with several
companions, aided by a few short ladders, a guide
rope, and experience in mountaineering. This
party found a number of potsherds and fragments
of implements and ornaments, all of ancient type,
and vigorously championed the claim that the mesa
was once inhabited.

Afterward another party, including Mr. Lummis,
Dr. David Starr Jordan, and Prof. T. H. Hittell,
similarly ascended and were similarly rewarded.
The adherents of the legend assert that the gnaw-
ing tooth of centuries of summer storm and winter
frost would inevitably denude the summit of every
relic of that olden time save such as have been
securely pocketed in crevices instead of washing
away. The talus of the mesa abounds in ancient
potsherds, and the rapid annual rise of rock detritus
at the foot of the cliff not only lends corroboration




Turquoise- drilling.



but shows how recently the mesa has ceased to be
unscalable. Even so, it will be long before the
casual tourist will aspire to its giddy crest.

Laguna (" the lake") was founded in 1699 by
refugees from Acoma, Zuni, and Cochiti, on a high
rock near the San Jose River. Its old Spanish
mission name was San Josef de la Laguna. Several
great battles were fought here with the Navajos
and Apaches. The Laguna Indians also occupy
tributary villages, such as Paquate, Negra, Encinal s
and Casa Blanca.




III.



ARIZONA.



THE portion to be traversed is a land of pro-
digious mountain terraces, extensive plateaus,
profound canyons, and flat, arid plains, dotted with
gardens of fruits and flowers, patched with vast
tracts of pine timber, and veined with precious
stones and metals, alternating with desolate beds
of lava, bald mountainous cones of black and red
volcanic cinder, grass-carpeted parks, uncouth vege-
table growths of the desert, and bleak rock spires,
above all which white peaks gleam radiantly in
almost perpetual sunlight. The long-time residents
of this region are unable to shake off its charm,
even when no longer compelled by any other con-
sideration to remain. Its frequent wide stretches
of rugged horizon exert a fascination no less pow-
erful than that of arduous mountain fastnesses or
the secret shadows of the dense forest.

There is the same dignity of Nature, the same
mystery, potent even upon those who can least
define its thrall.

47




Miners confess to it, and herdsmen. To the
traveler it will appear a novel environment for con-
temporaneous American life, this land of sage and
mesquite, of frowning volcanic piles, shadowed can-
yons, lofty mesas and painted buttes. It seems
fitter for some cyclopean race ; for the pterodactyl
and the behemoth. Its cliffs are flung in broad,
sinuous lines that approach and recede from the
way, their contour incessantly shifting in the simil-
itude of caverns, corridors, pyramids, monuments,
and a thousand other forms so full of structural idea
that they seem to be the unfinished work of some
giant architect who had planned more than he
could execute.

The altitude is practically the same as that of the
route through New Mexico, undulating between
5,000 and 7,000 feet above sea-level, until on the
western border the high plateaus break rapidly down
to an elevation of less than 500 feet at the valley
of a broad and capricious stream that flows through
alternate stretches of rich alluvial meadow and
barren rock-spires obelisks rising against the sky.
This stream is the Colorado River, wayward,
strenuous, and possessed of creative imagination and
terrific energy when the mood is on. It chiseled
the Grand Canyon, far to the north and east, and
now complacently saunters oceanward. Despite
its quiet air, not long ago it conceived the whim
to make a Salton Sea far to the south, and the
affair was a national sensation for many months.

The great cantilever bridge that spans it here (one




of the largest of its kind in the world) was made
necessary by the restless spirit of the intractable
stream. The main suspended span is 660 feet in
length and the cantilever arms each 165 feet; the
cost was half a million dollars. Only a few years
ago the crossing was by means of a huge pile bridge
several miles toward the north ; but the river shifted
its channel so frequently it was thought desirable to
build a new bridge down here among the enduring
obelisks, which are known as The Needles. It is
a picturesque spot, full of color, and the air has a
pure transparency that lends depth and distance to
the view, such as the bird knows in its flight.

The Needles form the head of the gorgeously
beautiful Mojave Canyon, hidden from view. The
Colorado is an inveterate lover of a chaotic chan-
nel.

It is its genius to create works of art on a scale
to awe the spirit of cataclysm itself. It 5s a true
Hellespont, issuing from Cimmerian gloom to loiter
among sunny fields, which it periodically waters
with a fertilizing flood ; and while you follow its
gentle sweep it breaks into sudden uproar and hews
a further path of desolation and sublimity. One
who does not know the canyons of the Colorado
has never experienced the full exaltation of those
impersonal emotions to which the Arts are
addressed. There only are audience-halls fit for
tragedies of ^Eschylus, for Dante and the Sagas.

The known history of Arizona begins with the
same Mark of Nice whom we have already





accredited as the discoverer of New Mexico, of

which this Territory was long a part : and here, as
well, he was followed by Coronado and the mis-
sionaries. This is the true home of the Apache,
whose unsparing warfare repeatedly destroyed the
work of early Spanish civilization and won the land
back for a time to heathenesse. Its complete acqui-
sition by the United States dates from 1853, an d
in the early days of the Civil War it was again
devastated.

After its successful reoccupation by California
troops in 1862, settlers began to penetrate its
northern portion. Nearly twenty years later the
first railroad spanned its boundaries, and then
finally it became a tenable home for the Saxon,
although the well-remembered outbreak of Gero-
nimo occurred only two decades ago. To-day the
war-thirsty Apaches are widely scattered among dis-
tant reservations, and with them has departed the
last existing element of disturbance. But Arizona
will never lose its peculiar atmosphere of extreme
antiquity, for in addition to those overwhelming
chasms that have lain unchanged since the infancy
of the world, it contains within its borders the
ruins of once populous cities, maintained by an enor-
mous irrigation system which our modern science
has not yet outdone ; whose history was not writ-
ten upon any lasting scroll; whose peoples are
classed among the undecipherable antiquities of our
continent, their deeds unsung, their heroes unchron-
tcled and unknown.



Yet, if you have a chord tor the heroic, hardly
shall you find another land so invigorating as this
of Arizona. It stiffens the mental fiber like a whiff
of the north wind. It stirs in the blood dim echoes
of days when achievement lay in the might of the
individual arm ; when sword met targe in exhilara-
ting struggles for supremacy. The super-refinement
of cities dissipates here. There is a tonic breeze
that blows toward simple relations and a lusty self-
hood.

ALBUQUERQUE TO NEEDLES.

The Santa Fe, in traversing western New Mex-
ico and Arizona, climbs the Continental Divide
from Albuquerque (altitude 4,935 feet) to Guam
(altitude 6,996 feet), a distance of 136 miles, along
the interesting valleys of the Puerco and San Jose.
There follows a downhill slide of 150 miles to
Winslow (altitude 4,343 feet) beside the Puerco
and Little Colorado rivers. The engine then puffs
up grade for many miles through fragrant pine for-
ests to a point just beyond Flagstaff. There is a
slight down grade to Ash Fork (altitude 5,129
feet), another rise of twenty-seven miles to Selig-
man (altitude 5,260 feet), and then the train
easily drops down a I5o-mile incline to Needles,
the descent being nearly a mile, almost to sea-
level. You would scarcely notice the difference at
any given point, unless by comparison with track
behind or ahead.




The principal scenes en route will be briefly
noted, without attempting adequate description, t

Isleta, "little island," is a picturesque pueblo in
the Rio Grande Valley, occupied by six hundred
Indians who own flocks, cultivate vineyards and
work in silver. Laguna is mentioned elsewhere.
Cubero is a quiet Mexican village, three miles
from the station, where quaint ceremonies
brought from Old Mexico still hold sway; the
' San Mateo Mountains are on the north from
Cubero to Grant's. Northeast of McCarty's is
Acomita, an offshoot of Acoma pueblo. Lava beds
are seen, McCarty's to beyond Bluewater. The
Zuni Mountains are southwest of Grant's station ;
San Rafael is on the road thither in a beautiful
valley; here, also at Cubero and San Rafael, the
strange rites of the Penitentes are performed:
southward are the pictured mesa fronts visible as
far as Gallup.

There is a low cone north of Bluewater called
Tintero, meaning inkstand, whence lava once pro-
fusely flowed. The station of Chaves is named
for a noted Indian fighter of early days. From
Thoreau, three miles east of Continental Divide,
various interesting canyons and Indian pueblos may
be reached, notably Pueblo Bonito, whose ancient
ruins cover seven acres, one building containing a
thousand rooms.

Between Guam and Wingate are Navajo Church
and Pyramid Rock. Inscription Rock is fifty miles
southeast of Wingate. The southern border of
5*








A Navajo Weaver.



the Navajo reservation is ten to fifty miles north
of the railway in northeastern Arizona. The
Navajos frequently visit Wingate, Canyon Diablo
and intermediate stations. They are a pastoral
people, progressive, intelligent and self-supporting.
They own large numbers of cattle, sheep and
goats, till small farms, make the celebrated Navajo
blankets, and are expert silversmiths.

Thirty-five miles south of Zuni Station, on Zuni
River, is the pueblo of Zuni, inhabited by a thou-
sand Indians, made famous through the writings
of an energetic ethnologist, Mr. Frank Gushing,
who lived in the pueblo for four years, first as a
welcome guest and then as a member of the tribe.
The Zunis have always been an imperious people.
51





Their history prior to the Spanish occupation indi-
cates that they were at that time the dominant
Pueblos. The Zuni ceremonial dances are of
world-wide renown. Gallup is the best point of
departure for Zuni village. The trip is a com-
., fortable carriage ride of six hours each way, over
. good roads and through impressive scenery. Ex-
penses are about five dollars per day for each
person. Room and board, at Zuni, can be ob-
tained at the house of the resident trader.

Canyon de Chelly lies fifty miles north of Man-
uelito. Adamana and Holbrook are points of
departure for Petrified Forest. Holbrook is the
railroad station for Fort Apache, several Indian
villages and interior Mormon settlements. The
Painted Desert and Moki buttes north of Wins-
low, and the Mogollon Mountains south, are
prominent features of the landscape ; the old Con-
tinental stage route, a continuation of the Santa
Fe Trail, passed through Winslow. Canyon Diablo,
Flagstaff, Williams and Ash Fork are referred to
further on.

The Hualapai and Havasupai Indian agency is
reached from Tinnaka. The Hualapai mainly live
at near-by stations, or act as herders ; the Havasu-
pais reside in Cataract Canyon, a tributary of the
Grand Canyon.




/>'.;?** ',';/' ** ? *V?

PETRIFIED FORESTS.

From remotest epochs earth has striven against
the encroaching slime of seas in a wasting struggle
to free her face to air. Those who are learned
may tell you where she is left most deeply scarred
by the conflict, but in this region where her
triumph, if barren, is complete, and the last
straggling columns of her routed foe are sourly
retreating oceanward, at least her wounds are
bare, and with them many a strange record which
she thought to lock forever in her bosom. Long
ere Noan fell adrift with the heterogeneous com-
pany of the ark, or Adam was, perhaps even before
the ancestral ape first stood erect in the posture of
men that were to be, forests were growing in Ari-
zona, just as in some parts they grow to-day. And
it befell in the course of time that they lay pros-
trate and over them swept the waters of an inland
sea.




Eons passed, and sands like drifting snowflakes
buried them so deep the plesiosaurus , never sus-
pected their grave beneath him as he basked his
monstrous length in the tropic waters and hungrily
watched the pterodactyl lolling in the palm-shade
on the rim. Then the sea vanished, the uncouth
denizens of its deeps and shores became extinct,
and craters belched forth volcanic spume to spread
a further mantle of oblivion over the past. Yet
somewhere the chain of life remained unbroken,
and as fast as there came dust for worm to burrow
in, mould for seed to sprout in, and leaf for insect
to feed on, life crept back in multiplying forms,
only to retreat again before the surge of ele-
mental strife after a century or after a thousand
years.

The precise sequence of local events as here
sketched must not be too critically scanned. The
aim is to suggest an approximate notion, to those
who possess no better, of some prodigious happen-
ings which have a bearing on our immediate
theme. If still one chance to lack a working idea,
let him remember that the solid surface of the
earth is ceaselessly changing contour, that it act-
ually billows like the open sea. It merely moves
more slowly, for if the gradual upheavals and
depressions of the earth's crust throughout millions
of years were performed within the brief span of
an hour, you would have the wildest conceivable
spectacle of cold rock strata become as fluctuant
as water, and leaping and falling in waves whose



crests towered miles in air, and whose lengths were

measurable by half a continent. This region for
hundreds of square miles was once sunk so low
the ocean overflowed it ; then upheaved so high
the brine could find no footing. Again a partial
depression made it a vast repository of rivers that
drained the higher levels, which in time was
expelled by a further upheaval. During the peri-
ods of subsidence the incoming waters deposited
sand and silt, which time hardened to rock. But
in periods of upheaval the process was reversed and
the outgoing waters gnawed the mass and labored
constantly to bear it away.

So, to return to our long-buried forest, some
10,000 feet of rock was deposited over it, and sub-
sequently eroded clean away. And when these
ancient logs were uncovered, and, like so many Van
Winkles, they awoke but from a sleep many
thousand times longer to the sight of a world
that had forgotten them, lo! the sybaritic chemistry
of nature had transformed them every one into
chalcedony, topaz, onyx, carnelian, agate and ame-
thyst.

Thousands of acres are thickly strewn with
trunks and segments of trunks, and covered with
chiplike fragments. There are several separated
tracts, any one of which will seem to the aston-
ished beholder an inexhaustible store of gems,
measurable by no smaller phrase
than millions of tons ; a profusion
of splinters, limbs and logs, every
57




fragment of which as it lies would adorn the col-
lector's cabinet, and, polished by the lapidary, might
embellish a crown. Some of these prostrate trees
of stone are over 2OO feet in length and seven to
ten feet in diameter, although they are most fre-
quently broken into sections by transverse fracture.

One of these huge trunks, its integrity still spared
by time, spans a canyon fifty feet wide a bridge
of jasper and agate overhanging a tree-fringed
pool.

Mr. John Muir, the noted California naturalist,
says of the North Sigillaria Forest (discovered by
him in 1906) that the many finely preserved Sigil-
laria, Lepidodendron and Dadozylon trees here, with
their peculiar roots and leaf -marks, show plainly
that in this place flourished one of the noblest
forests of the Carboniferous period. The trees
grew where they now lie, instead of drifting in
from elsewhere, and there are many standing stumps
visible.

The forest covers many thousands of acres, in
five separate tracts.

The First Forest is distant six miles from Ada-
mana, being the one most frequently visited. It
contains the notable natural log bridge. The
Second Forest is three miles south of the first one
and is smaller. The Third Forest lies thirteen
miles southwest of Adamana ; it is the largest and
has the most unbroken tree trunks of great size.
The Blue Forest is seven miles southeast and the
North Sigillaria Forest is nine miles north; the pre-




vailing color of the former is a beautiful

nemophilia blue; the latter is famed for its
basin, the north wall of which is sculp-
tured like the Grand Canyon. The general
characteristics of these different tracts are
the same. One may also reach the Third
Forest from Holbrook; distance eighteen
miles. Round-trip livery fare from either
point is $5.OO for one person and $2.50
each for three or more persons. Miss
A. McLain conducts a small hotel at Ada-
mana; rate $2.50 a day. There are also
good hotel accommodations at Holbrook. \
MOKIS.

The Moki pueblos are seven in number: Orai-
bi, Shungopavi, Shipaulovi, Mishongnovi, Wolpi,
Sichomovi and Tewa (also called Hano). They
are embraced in a locality less than thirty miles
across, and are the citadels of a region which the
discovering Spaniards in the sixteenth century
named the Province of Tusayan. They are not
to be confounded with the "Seven Cities of
Cibola," whose site is now known to be Zuni,
in New Mexico. They are reached by a pleasant
two days' wagon journey northward from Canyon
Diablo, Holbrook or Winslow, and by a longer route
through pine forests from Gallup in New
Mexico, at an expense of from $5 to $7 a day.

The peculiar attractions which they offer to
students of primitive community and pagan
ceremonies, as well as to the artist seeking
69






MOKI HAIR DRESSING



strange subjects, or the casual traveler hoping to find
a new sensation, are acting to draw an increasing'
number of visitors every year at the time of their
religious festivities. This increasing interest has
resulted in improving the means of access without
in any degree modifying the conditions of the
villages themselves or the Moki ceremonies. The
latter half of August is the time of the most spec-
tacular fiestas, and at that season a wagon journey
from the railway to the Province of Tusayan, with
the consequent camp life on the road and at the
pueblos, need be no hardship.

There are no tourist's accommodations at the
villages except such few rooms or houses as can be
rented from the Mokis at reasonable rates. Provi-
sions and such household comforts as the traveler
considers indispensable must be brought in. The
roads and trails lie across the almost level Painted
Desert, which, except in the Little Colorado Val-
ley and around a few springs or wells, has scant


1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Online LibraryC. A. (Charles A.) HigginsTo California over the Sante Fé Trail → online text (page 3 of 11)