Monday, February 27, 2012

Franklin Mountains State Park's JackRabbit Classic and View of Historic Trade Routes

From the top of the trail, a view of El Paso's historic valley, a significant historic trade route
Runners head up the mountain in yesteday's JackRabbit Classic Trail Run
Visitors to Franklin Mountains State Park, and yesterday's runners in the JackRabbit Classic Trail Run there, can get a terrific view of the historic upper valley connecting El Paso to New Mexico.

From the park's website, some history:
"Overlooking the Rio Grande, the Franklin Mountains are the northern ramparts of the Paso del Norte (Pass of the North), leading from Mexico into what is now the United States. For thousands of years, native Americans, and for the last four centuries, soldiers, priests, traders, adventurers, gold-seekers, entrepreneurs, and just plain folk have passed through the gap in both directions in an endless procession of expansion, settlement, raiding, and conquest. Native American groups made the area home, using the plant and animal resources of the Franklins for more than 12,000 years. These people left their marks in the Franklins - colorful pictographs on boulders and in rock shelters and deep mortar pits (used to grind seeds) in rock outcrops near scattered water sources. Beginning in the 1580s, less than a century after Columbus, Spanish conquistadors and priests passed beneath the peaks of the Franklins on their mission to conquer and colonize the Puebloan villages in present-day New Mexico." 

Read more about the historic El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, here. 
The Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach Route also ran through the valley visible from the mountains.  Read more about the history of this route through El Paso, here.

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