Caravan Returns to Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe Trail history will come to life near La Junta, Colorado next weekend. National Park Service staff from Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, Comanche National Grasslands, will present a special program along the trail on Saturday, May 13 beginning at 1 p.m.

The program will feature the fort’s large freight wagon being pulled by oxen along a 3 mile stretch of the trail between Sierra Vista Overlook and Timpas Picnic Area, southwest of La Junta. Living history interpreters in historic clothing will accompany the wagon on foot and horseback.

The public is invited to walk with the caravan as it makes its way along the route. Santa Fe Trail experts will present short talks on trail history when the caravan arrives at Timpas. The caravan will depart the Sierra Vista Overlook at 1 p.m. and should arrive at the Timpas Picnic Area shortly after 3 p.m.

At Timpas, Mark Gardner, historian and author of the book “Wagons for the Santa Fe Trade” and John Conoboy of the Santa Fe National Historic Trail office will deliver short programs on the history and current status of the trail.

Free shuttle service, courtesy of the Bent’s Old Fort Historical Association and the La Junta Senior Center, will be available between the caravan starting point at the Sierra Vista Overlook and the Timpas Picnic Area so that program attendees will not have to walk both ways. The program’s starting point, Sierra Vista Overlook, is located on Colorado Highway 71, 9 miles south of Rocky Ford and just ½ mile north of Highway 71’s intersection with U.S. Highway 350. The Timpas Picnic Area is located just off U.S. Highway 350 16 miles southwest of La Junta or 60 miles northeast of Trinidad.

Program attendees are asked to dress appropriate for the weather, bring plenty of water, and wear appropriate footwear for traversing uneven ground with scattered cactus. Restrooms will be available at both ends of the walk, but nowhere between. Limited seating is available for the talks at Timpas. Those wishing to attend those programs might bring along a lawn chair or other portable seat. The shuttle service will begin around 12:30 for those wishing to park at Timpas and shuttle back to the beginning of the route at Sierra Vista. Those wanting to walk along with the caravan should be ready to depart from Sierra Vista at 1 p.m.

 

-NPS-

 

Rick Wallner
Chief of Interpretation
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
phone: (719) 383-5024
fax: (719) 383-2129
email: rick_wallner@nps.gov

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