Wednesday, September 28, 2011

THE TURQUOISE TRAIL

Sandia Peak Looking South - turquoisetrail.orgThe Turquoise Trail in New Mexico is also known as the "Artful way to Santa Fe". The 62-mile span is a National byway that starts near Albuquerque and ends in the oldest U.S. capital city, Santa Fe. The route is embedded with a rich history and has been traveled by thousands of Native Americans, miners, traders, pioneers, outlaws and Confederates.

Pueblo Native Americans From the US National Archives
As you might expect, the name turquoise refers to the gemstone. The "sky stone" was first mined by the early Pueblo Indians. They became empowered economically by trading in this highly sought after stone. Other Native American tribes were willing to exchange animal hides, pottery, textiles, agricultural products and slaves for the opaque gem. Natural turquoise was in high demand because of the the general belief was that the stone imparted health, happiness, enlightenment and healing powers.
Cerrillos Church
If you're looking for turquoise along the trail today, you can check out the turquoise museum in Albuquerque. There, you can see a stone that looks like George Washington and uncover the details about the spider web matrix turquoise - one of the rarest. The route is infused with various art communities as well as mining towns, one-of-a-kind museums, old Spanish villages, archaeological pueblos, theaters, restaurants and awe-inspiring places to hike.