Day 192 – New Mexico North – Part 2

Day 192 of Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

El Santuario de Chimayo

At the suggestion of Kelly and Buck, I took the “High Road to Taos” from Santa Fe through several old Spanish towns.  On the way to Taos, I stopped at El Santuario de Chimayo, a USA National Historic Landmark since 1970.  The shrine is built on the site of what many believe to be a miracle associated with the crucifix of Nuestro Senor de Esquipulas.  Different beliefs associated with the crucifix can be found at

crucifix at El Santuario de chimayo

It is also the site of “el pocito”, a small pit of dirt which is considered holy because it is in the spot the crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas was found by Bernardo Abeyta in 1810.  Thousands of pilgrims and visitors have come to El Santuario de Chimayo in search of spiritual, emotional, and physical

El Santuario de chimayo in New mexico

The grounds surrounding the shrine include several crucifixes, graves, and small worship areas decorated with colorful beads, mosaics, flowers,
holy figures, and candles.  Inside the shrine, a small adobe room decorated with statues of Jesus, statues of Mary, and religious paintings, surrounds the square of sand holding two plastic spades that visitors may use to shovel the holy dirt for healing.  The room is attached to a larger chapel filled with pews and one of the most colorful pulpits I’ve ever seen.

shrine at santuario de chimayo, new mexico

Rio Grand Gorge

After visiting the church, we continued on to Taos where we stopped at the Rio Grande Gorge. Perching 650 feet above the raging Rio Grande, is the fifth highest bridge in America which quakes with each passing truck.  The cantilever truss bridge spans 1,280 feet and in 1966 was awarded the Most Beautiful Steel Bridge in the Long Span category by the American Institute of Steel Construction.  The bridge has appeared in several films including Natural Born Killers, Twins, and She’s Having a Baby.

rio grand gorge, new Mexico

Church of St Francis of Assisi

On the other side of town, we visited the Church of St Francis of Assisi. The church was constructed between 1772 and 1816 and is located on the plaza in Ranchos de Taos, a historic district.  While I visited, it appeared to be under renovation, but it is said to have inspired among the greatest number of
depictions of any building in the United States.  It was subject of four paintings by Georgia O’Keefe and photographs of Ansel Adams and Paul Strand.

Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Taos

Junebug Campground

We moved toward the east following 522 to 38 through what is known as the Enchanted Circle.  The scenic drive passes pine covered peaks, picturesque valleys, and alpine lakes.  Just before reaching Red River, a popular ski resort, we found the Junebug Campground in Carson National Forest where the river skirted the edge of the southern campsites.  The gurgle of the waters flow made for a peaceful evening.  ETB

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

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photographic note card, western tiger swallowtail butterfly
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