Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pinery Station - Guadalupe Mountains National Park

In 1858, this was a MOST welcome sight to stagecoach travelers on the Butterfield Overland Mail. The Pinery station, now in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, was a stop on the 2,800 mile route from Missouri to California.

From the park's website:
"When the conductor, his driver, and their sole passenger made their first call at the Pinery, there was little to see: a stout corral built of pine that had been cut and hauled from the mountains above, and the tents that housed the station keeper and his men. But two months later the station consisted of a high-walled rock enclosure protecting a wagon repair shop, a black smith shop, and the essential replacement teams of fresh horses. Three mud-roofed rooms with limestone walls offered a double fireplace, a warm meal, and a welcome retreat from the dusty trail of the plains below."

Visitors to the park have an easy 0.75 mile walk to the ruins of the Pinery Station on a paved trail.  Trailside exhibits point out examples of Chihuahuan Desert vegetation.

From the park's website:

"The ruin is fragile; climbing on the walls can destroy this piece of history. It is preserved by the National Park Service as a window to the past, in the relatively unchanged, rugged setting that stage riders and Mescalero Apaches saw more than one hundred years ago. With the help of careful visitors to protect it, this historic location will continue to reflect the spirit of courage and adventure which commanded the senses of long-ago travelers, and still stirs in those who ride this route today."

Read more here, including stories of bustling activity and fearful moments at the Pinery!

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