Monday, May 23, 2016

Mount Blanca--A Navajo Sacred Mountain




When my husband and I left the Great Sand Dune National Park (see part one blog post here, and part two blog post about these amazing sand dunes here) we traveled CO 150 South on our way towards the town of Alamosa, about 38 miles away from the park. (All photos in this post will enlarge if clicked on)


I love road side "places of interest" or "historical markers" and often stop to see what they say. I was very glad to have stopped at this one which pointed out that the tall mountain peak in the distance was Mount Blanca.


Click on photo to enlarge to see what was written on the placard.


Mount Blanca is the fourth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. At 14,351 feet (4,374 m) it is the highest summit of the Sangre de Cristo Range.


The Navajo Native Americans called this mountain Sisnaajini (White Shell mountain). The Navajos believed it was one of the four sacred mountain peaks of the Navajo Land and a sacred mountain placed in the east, the doorway to Navajo Land, because the sun rises in the east and the day begins there. They believed the First man and the First Woman, together with the Yei'i (Holy People) made the mountain with white shells, white lightening and rain clouds and gave it positive thoughts. You can read more about the Navajo beliefs about Mt. Blanca on this link.


It was named Mount Blanca by the Spanish explorers in 1598.  By then the Navajo tribes had moved further west and the predominant Native Americans living in the area were the Utes. They entered this region with their domesticated dogs pulling their belongings, and found the San Luis Valley rich hunting grounds for bison, elk mule deer, fish and plants. When they first saw the Spaniards riding in on horses they thought the horses were "magic dogs."  When the Utes acquired horses their warriors became skilled riders and they fought off  European conquest in the San Luis Valley of Colorado until the early 19th century.


Another historical placard at this road pull off site, told about the Southwestern expedition lead by Lt. Zebulon Pike in 1806-7.  He and his men were captured by the Spanish in this area and held captive in Chihuahua, Mexico for awhile until they were released in 1807.


When I looked up at the high peak of Mt. Blanca I thought about the many eyes who marveled at this sight over the thousands of years before me, and the many who will gaze at it in the future. It sits as a silent and majestic sentinel of time. 



One last look at the beautiful Sangre De Cristo Mountain range in southern Colorado. It is another area that has won my heart in this great state.

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57 comments:

Margaret Adamson said...

the scenery is SPECTACULAR. Have a wonderful week ahead.

Donna said...

Another fascinating post with beautiful scenery....I can see why you love it so much!

rupam sarma said...

Amazing

From the Kitchen said...

Spectacular beauty!

Best,
Bonnie

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, Colorado is a beautiful state. The Mount Blanca is a beautiful view. Lovely post and images. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

Bill Nicholls said...

The thing that amazes me is the wide open spaces you have there

Betsy Adams said...

Hi, There's SO much to see in Colorado... We have not been to that area at all. Beautiful. We just HAVE to get back there sometime. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

Jeanne said...


Good morning Pat, The sacred Navajo Mount Blanca is lovely and the history interesting. The mountains out West from a distance are majestic no matter which range they are. Unless you told us which range this is I always refer to these mountains as the Rocky Mountains. You have open my knowledge about these ranges. Thanks for your always historical posts found in your travels.

I now keeping you darling granddaughter was fun and I 'get' exhausting. HA! When we lived near our grands we spent lots of time taking care of them. It is hard to believe that five of them are in college and the last one starting this Fall.

Happy Blue Monday,
xo,
Jeanne

LV said...

Thanks for allowing me to enjoy more great Colorado territory. I am not likely to get to go again in person.

happywonderer.com said...

More beautiful scenery. There is so much to see in this great country of ours. I enjoy seeing it through your lens Pat!

Pamela Gordon said...

Really spectacular photos Pat. I enjoyed reading of the history of the people that inhabited the area and how they viewed it. Have a great week!

likeschocolate said...

So lovely! Thank you for sharing!
http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-weekend.html

Cheryl @ TFD said...

So much beauty to be seen in Colorado! Your photos are fantastic, Pat. I may never get to most of these places in person, so it's wonderful that you share your trips...thank you!

BABALUCCIA said...

Mountain is one of my passion thank you for this
Come to visit me

BABALUCCIA said...

Mountain is one of my passion thank you for this
Come to visit me

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Beautiful post,these mountains are awesomely wonderful.
Lovely shots.....thank you!

Barb said...

Your photos of Mount Blanca are wonderful, Pat. I expect the high peaks will retain snow most of the summer. I also enjoyed the history you shared.

NC Sue said...

Gorgeous photos!
Thank you for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/05/american-tobacco-campus-durham-nc.html

Linda W. said...

Lovely mountain! I enjoyed your history of the area too.

Grantham Lynn said...

Oh I always love visiting. You have such beautiful shots. Your post was great. Thanks for sharing. I'm following you. I'd love you to come over and see my Blue Monday post and follow me! Hope to see you!
Have a good week.

carol l mckenna said...

they look like sacred mountains ~ gorgeous photography!

Happy Week to you ~ ^_^

Leora said...

What a beautiful mountain. Thank you for the history. Maybe one day I will take a visit and go see it myself.

Frank Boxell said...

Fabulous mountain scenery.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

So beautiful, Pat. It gives me chills to think of the people that roamed the west and considered it sacred. Thank you for sharing the beauty and majesty of our country. ♥

Ciao Chow Linda said...

The beauty of your new home state seems endless - and so does your love of exploration.

jeannettestgermain said...

Neat to learn more this way about some of the Native tribes. So intriguing, since my brothers and I in our teen years all read the series of Winnetou the Navajo. Is Zebulon Pike the same as Pike's Peak?
Again a breathtaking post, Pat - thank you so much for sharing this with SEASONS -If we wouldn't have been in the building process of the studio I would said to hubby "let's go this summer!" Looking forward to see what you have next week:)
Hope you have a great week!

The Furry Gnome said...

Oh we really must get out to visit the southwest sometime!

Pamela S said...

All of your photography is just beautiful. We are driving to Colorado next year in our RV on a cross country trip. My son lives in Centennial Co. I have been there before and this is such beautiful country.

Karen said...

Wow, absolutely breathtaking scenery!

Jim said...

Brilliant

Lady Fi said...

Stunning shots of the scenery.

bettyl-NZ said...

I've never heard of that part of the mountains. Thanks for all the interesting info. The photos are just fabulous with that blue sky.

Rhonda Albom said...

The snow capped mountains are magnificent.

BABALUCCIA said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DrillerAA09 said...

Beautiful photo set and narrative. Really well done. Thank yo for sharing with us. Have a blessed day.

Fun60 said...

Scenery doesn't get much better than these spectacular views.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Colorado has the most awe inspiring scenery. And I am so lost king forward to seeing it in person soon! Your knowledge of your adopted home states history and the places you've visited in it are also awe inspiring! As are your beautiful pictures!

Daniela said...

What majestic views you always present us as a gift, my wonderful friend, blessed be !
Hope you're enjoying your week I wish you most wonderful days to come, sending my dearest love and many hugs to you,

with sincere gratitude

Dany

Al said...

It is a great-looking mountain - that's such a beautiful and unique part of Colorado.

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

Such a beautiful mountain! Like to learn all the story about the name of the mountain.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Beautiful scenery! And you always share the best little tidbits of information. :)

Denise inVA said...

Stunning scenery Pat, I loved all your photos and also the history of this place. The Native Indian stories were very interesting. Great post!

Ida said...

Simply Stunning! I enjoyed reading about the mountain and the Indian beliefs behind it.

Susan Anderson said...

That's done pretty interesting history. Thanks!

Art and Sand said...

I have visited the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, but on the other side in New Mexico. And, we actually drove into Colorado for a brief visit. They are a beautiful mountain range.

Thanks for sharing at SYC.

Stacey said...

Isn't it amazing to consider how many eyes have seen and how many more will? Makes us feel a little bit small but no less important.

Thank you for sharing this at Thoughts of Home. :)

Roz Corieri Paige said...

Simply breathtaking, towering mountains with so much cultural and historical significance. What a majestic country we are blessed to live in. I always appreciate traveling through your posts!

Kelly Kardos said...

What a beautiful mountain range. I adore that shack in the middle of nowhere. Visiting from Lisa's.

diane b said...

It sure is a beautiful mountain range. One wonders at how strong the pioneers were.

John's Island said...

Hi, Your photos in this post are just excellent. I need to check out the area as it looks to be a destination I would love to visit. Thanks so much for sharing and for your kind comment on my blog as well. Hope you have a fine weekend.

Rambling Woods said...

Oh wow...the sand and the mountains is amazing ..I have never seen anything like that before..Michelle

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Spectacular scenery, and you capture it so well!!

handmade by amalia said...

Pat! What a gorgeous place! Thanks for taking us along.
Amalia
xo

Lisa Kerner said...

I love learning the history of places as well. I think I inherited it from my dad who made us stop at every historical marker. Which, at the time, drove me nuts. But, the history of a place makes it real.

BTW... don't you think that pioneer picked the best place to build a cabin.?! What a view.

Lisa @ Life Thru the Lens

Maria Gagliano said...

Truly gorgeous

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I so enjoy your travel experiences through Colorado with your photos of the beautiful countryside.

Photo(Geo)grapher said...

Very interesting post with beautiful scenery and excellent photos.