Abó is another Salinas Mission.  Built on the same red sandstone as Quarai, it sits right on the trail that leads to the Rio Grande Valley, a busy trade route.  This mission is much less developed than Quarai and smaller.  We arrived mid-afternoon and while we hurried in hopes that we could get to the third mission, Gran Quivira, we found that it is just too hard to break away!  So, Gran Quivira will wait for another trip.

From the parking lot the mission does not seem so big.  But, when you get within the stone walls you begin to feel pretty small.

What amazed me was the use of huge wooden beams.  The wood for these beams had to come from far away.  Wood was a precious commodity among all the Salinas Pueblo Indians.

The walls were sometimes so high you could not see over them.  It was easy to feel like you were in a rock maze.

I imagined this high structure as a bell tower.

I was surprised to see what are believed to be kivas right next to the missions!  For the most part, Indian religious practices were discouraged and those who continued to practice their native religious ceremonies were punished.  But, conflicts and rebellion appeared to have caused Catholic clergy to soften their stand on the matter.

We headed home knowing we would return to this part of New Mexico.  It is a gorgeous area, one we have not explored.  Tom pulled 'shooting from the car' duty.  The golden hour shadows made the drive magical.

Tomorrow we leave Albuquerque and head towards Boulder, CO. Hard to imagine that I have been here a month.  It has passed so quickly and I feel so blessed to be able to spend the time with my mother and brother.  We must be in Boulder on Sunday morning.  But hey, we shoot along the way and the Great Sand Dunes are sorta on the way!!  We will keep you posted.  Know that you are in our thoughts every time we start to grab gear out of the car!