Santa Fe National Historic Trail – Kansas, Colorado & New Mexico

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Fort Union National Monument, NM

Santa Fe National Historic Trail

Completed: October 20, 2014

Junior Ranger- Senior Friendly

In association with:
Fort Larned NHS, Kansas
Bent’s Old Fort NHS, Colorado
Capulin Volcano NM, New Mexico
Fort Union NM, New Mexico
Pecos NHP, New Mexico

This is a program you can complete by visiting the sites in person, online or through brochures. On this trip I picked up the booklet at Fort Larned NHS, in Kansas. By completing this activity book I gained a better understanding of the Santa Fe Trail, historically and the environment along the way. I have been to all of the sites in the past couple of years, but had not linked them together with the trail.

It is Senior Friendly because it states it “is designed for ages 8 to 12, but other ages are welcome to participate”. In the beginning of the booklet is a page titled My Travels which has space for the passport stamp for each site, plus the one for the Santa Fe NHT.

Trail activities include; Along the Way, Trail Transportation, What’s in the Wagon, Travel Journal, and Trail Puzzle, then there is a page for each park site along the trail. To receive the badge you are expected to complete 3 general trail activities, plus each park site’s activity. Because it may be completed after you have finished your trip you may mail the completed booklet in to the address given, you will then receive the booklet and badge back in the mail.

Using the information from my visits to all the sites plus the park brochures, including the brochure specifically for the Santa Fe NHT, I was able to complete the activities. One of the trail activities I enjoyed was within the Along the Way, you draw a picture of what you think traveling along the trail would have looked like 150 years ago. Another interesting page was the Travel Journal, at three different sites you recorded information about weather, landscape and how you feel. This brought out the differences between sites.

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The page for Pecos NHP was an exercise in archaeology, dating historical events based on artifacts pictured that were found within the pueblo and mission. It took some research to identify the dates of the six events. Drawing was part of the Capulin Volcano National Monument, a picture of the volcano, plus a description of the area. When I visited the site, a year earlier the trail into the caldera was busy, but I enjoyed observing the plants and birds as I hiked the trail.

On this trip we were heading west, our next stop was Bent’s Old Fort, in Colorado. I was able to complete all of the activities in the booklet once I had visited Bent’s Old Fort, a new National Park Service site for me to visit. At the end of my visit I had my booklet reviewed by the ranger. I was presented with an enhanced badge and the certificate on the the back of the book signed and dated.

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