Day 952: Fort Union National Monument

This morning, we left the Walmart of Las Vegas, New Mexico after another great breakfast by Trish:

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We drove east, crossing the southern edge of the Rocky Mountains and finding ourselves in the aptly named Great Plains.  If I squint, I’m pretty sure I can see St. Louis.  I exaggerate, but after spending months in the West, this feels very, very flat:

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The linear depression in the distance across the photograph is the Santa Fe Trail:

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We continued northeast to Fort Union National Monument. The fort was built to subdue Indian tribes and protect travellers on the Santa Fe Trail.  Built in the 1850s, the fort met a sudden demise with the obsolescence of the Santa Fe Trail due to the arrival of railroad service from the East.  Suddenly a fort with nothing to guard, it was abandoned by the Army.

We checked out the visitor center:

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A model of the fort, in its day the largest military installation in the West:

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The hospital building is adjacent to the visitor center:

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Our first stop was the second fort site.  Little more than earthworks, it was designed to repel a Confederate assault.  Southern forces did invade and conquer southern New Mexico, but this site never saw action, as Union forces from here deployed to the southwest where the Confederates were turned back at the Battle of Glorieta Pass.  The contours of the fort are faintly visible:

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The third fort was built of adobe, and has fared better than the first two forts:

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Officer barracks:

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The prison:

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Fort Union was the logistical hub for military control of the Southwest.  The fort was both a military post for regional defense and a military depot for distribution of supplies throughout the region:

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Some walls require heroic measures to save them from collapse.  After over 125 years, some of the mud walls are starting to fail:

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A warehouse in the depot:

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The faint trail along the left edge of the photograph is the Santa Fe Trail:

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The kids completed their Junior Ranger workbooks and received their badges:

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They also completed the workbooks for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail:

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Saying goodbye to the fort, we drove west towards Santa Fe.  Trish made a few more owl hats during the drive:

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We continued west to overnight at the Walmart of Santa Fe, New Mexico.  See the trip map for today’s drive and our current location.

Day 951: Pecos NHP
Day 953: Exploring Santa Fe

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