I had the chance to take a field trip to visit David Carpenter, another LHIP intern! I traveled to Salinas Pueblo Missions in Mountainair, New Mexico with the EFTA director, Susan Bonfield from Boulder, Colorado and NPS Youth Coordinator Alex Tremble from Washington D.C. (so cool). Fellow LHIPster Lena Guidi and I had many food and hangout suggestions for them during their stay in New Mexico. Like I said before, I love showing people my state!

I wish everyone could go here, but now you conceptually can. Take a look at the Photo sphere I created at Quarai ruins! (Scroll and zoom around in the image at the top of this post) I am sad to say I had never visited the Salinas Pueblo Missions Site. I felt a strong spiritual presence here because I felt like people really spent their life caring for this site. The acoustics in this church are incredible. Imagine the many people, voices, and souls that cried out to God inside these walls. To stand there and hear your own voice echo is partaking in the normal experience of these ancient people.

David showed us his interpretive skills and explained the architecture and preservation of this site. Daily maintenance has to be done to keep the ruins standing.  These sandstones were originally held together by dirt and mud for mortar, so upkeep today is similar to what was done in the past.  Dirt and a bit of concrete is constantly replaced to ensure the walls still stand.  You can see square holes in the stone walls, indicating where wooden beams or “vigas” were inserted to hold up the roof and the choir loft on the south end of the church.  Some of the carpentry still survives today.  Another inspiring fact is that this site is layered with history even before Native or Spanish colonial settlement. Dinosaur fossils have been found here, giving this landscape an even longer story to tell.