Echo amphitheater in Carson National Forest along US Highway 84, between Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch is a must see if you’ve not already been.
When I first moved to Taos in the early 80’s, I loved going for long hikes on the mesa near Tres Piedras. I jokingly referred to the area as “moon surface,” inspired by its desolate majesty. Over the years, as I explored more of the area I chanced upon the National Forest’s many hidden gems and this natural amphitheatre was one of them.
Legend has it that In the spring of 1861, some farmers who had come from Iowa to settle and farm in Northern New Mexico were set upon by a band of Navajo. The settlers were taken to the top of the amphitheater and executed. Their blood spilled into the amphitheater, staining its walls.
Three years later, when the Navajo were being forced on the “Long Walk” to Bosque Redondo by the U.S. Army, ten Navajo men were killed at the top of the amphitheater in retribution for the earlier deaths. Once again, blood spilled down the walls of the amphitheater. The blood seeped into the pores of the rock and dried and supposedly is still visible today.
It is said that in the echoes returned from the cliff’s walls one can hear the anguished cries of the dead, hence its name,
In spite of its bloody history, the dramatic natural amphitheater is worth a visit, especially if you are headed to nearby Ojo Caliente or Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu.
These unseasonal winter days we are having make this the perfect time to get outside and explore the vast terrain surrounding Taos, discovering new wonders or revisiting old favourites.
The Carson National Forest encompasses a large amount of territory here in northern New Mexico and includes Wheeler Peak, the highest mountain in the state at 13,161 feet.
We are rumoured to get a bit of the white stuff today (sure to melt by noon tomorrow) and if man made snow doesn’t sound too inspiring, perhaps a hike into the mountains or on the “moon surface” of the sprawling sage and pinon dotted desert, will prove a worthy substitute until it snows in earnest.
For more on Carson National Forest and its many hidden natural wonders, please visit the Forest Service site linked below.
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