Messages Left By Ancient People In New Mexico
These photos were shot on November 29, 2018.
Boca Negra Canyon is part of Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Most of these ancient rock drawings were created between 400 - 700 years ago though some of them are over 1000 years old.
It is a wonderful privilege to have a place like this in the middle of the city. You can walk through the silent desert and watch a raven fly up over the canyon wall, exactly the way ancient people did hundreds of years ago. The city doesn't need more strip malls and convenience stores, it needs more places to breathe and connect to nature.
How your presence can be beneficial: be a paid visitor to the park and don't mess anything up while you're there. Remember, take only photographs and leave only footprints. No one likes "new petroglyphs", so don't try to create your own. ;)
Buried By Neglect
As with many old cemeteries in Albuquerque, San Jose has fallen into a sad state of disrepair. It is no longer an active cemetery, meaning that new burials are being performed elsewhere and it doesn't seem that anyone is officially charged with it's upkeep. Meanwhile, city life goes on and the unkempt cemetery becomes a haven for tweakers and vandals.
Postscript: If you go there, don't be part of the problem. Remember the golden rule of visitation and photography: Leave only footprints, take only photographs.
Vicente "El Picosito" Garcia
In these old cemeteries, it is unusual to find a new(ish) grave and especially one with a news story.
Buried here at San Jose Cemetery is Albuquerque boxer, Vicente "El Picosito" Garcia. In 2006, he was found shot to death in a car. The young boxer was only 20 years old.
Johnpaul and I were at the cemetery on November 17, 2018 and there had obviously been recent visitors to Vicente's grave as evidenced by the relatively fresh jack-o-lantern and half bottle of Modelo beer.
To learn more Vicente "El Picosito" Garcia and what happened to him, click here.
There is a short cut that I take to get through town a little faster. It's called La Ladera Road and it runs from the base of Meadow Lake hill and comes out near the Peralta Post Office on Hwy 47. If ever there was an unlit, twisty-turny, creepy road where the ditch witch may drown your children or where a ghost may appear in the backseat of your car, this is it.
Off La Ladera road, tucked away where it is hard to see and unnoticed by most passersby, is Our Lady Of Guadalupe Catholic Cemetery. The cemetery is sectioned off into three areas. There is the old area that is full and no longer in use, the current area where new graves are being added, and an area reserved for future use. All in all, there are about 1000 gravesites here.
All of my photos are from the old area and I only walked a small part, leaving much of it unexplored and likely warranting a second trip.
San Ysidro Church
This is the Old San Ysidro Church and Cemetery in Corrales, New Mexico. It is known as the "Old San Ysidro Church" to differentiate it from the less old (and much larger) San Ysidro Church which is on Corrales Road.
Unfortunately, adobe buildings built close to rivers don't fare well when it rains too much and in 1868, the Rio Grande flooded washing away both the church and the cemetery. The rising waters scattered the dead all over the place. Ten coffins were retrieved and there are now a total of 21 coffins buried under the church floor, which practically guarantees that the church is haunted. (read the signs in the photos below)
Over the years, I have shot several weddings here but it is no longer in use as an active church. The Village of Corrales rents it out for special events such as weddings and art shows.
San Ysidro Cemetery
This cemetery is across the street from the Old San Ysidro Church.
Wear Boots And Bring Water...
On September 30, 2018, Johnpaul and I hiked to the top of Tome Hill.
From the parking area, it looks like an easy hike to the top. There are multiple trails to choose from. The "pilgrimage path" is longer but not as steep and the "quick path" goes straight up the steepest side of the hill. Still, from the bottom, it looks pretty easy. We took "the quick path", the one that goes straight up. As previously mentioned, the trail is steep and full of loose rocks. There is no shade and you will get hot and thirsty pretty fast so come prepared.
Tome Hill was formed by volcanic activity roughly 30 million years ago, at which time it may have more accurately described as Tome Mountain. Over time, the Rio Grande River eroded the earth around the basalt leaving the hill as we now know it.
As is evident from the photos, Tome Hill plays an important role in the area's activities, drawing thousands of "pilgrims" every year. The crosses atop the hill can be seen from miles around.
What I didn't realize, but am reading about this morning, is that there are hundreds of ancient petroglyphs on the hill, some of which date back nearly 2000 years. Apparently we took the wrong trail up because we didn't see any of these petroglyphs, and they are not widely publicized. I believe this warrants a return trip...
I am DeAnna Vincent, fine art and portrait photographer in Los Lunas, New Mexico. These are the photos from my everyday adventures.