Colorado Traveling Ducks at Fort Union, New Mexico

Another road trip.  Everybody is happy about road trips.   Our moms just decided to get in the car and drive, preferably south.   It is winter here in Colorado.  Let’s take a quick trip looking for warmer weather.  We are an unusual group this trip.   I, Zeb the Duck, Soapy Smith Duck, my mom, Soapy’s mom and Soapy’s dog Chloe.

Chloe. Soapy Smith Duck’s dog

Chloe is part Pit Bull, part Labrador, and probably has some Dalmatian.   Under her white fur, some black spots are on her skin.   This is Chloe’s first long road trip.   This will be her first time in a motel, first time in an elevator, and many more firsts.   Heading south from Denver on I-25, we enter New Mexico, and about 100 miles further this rest area caught our attention.

Fort Union National Monument

We are near Fort Union and this rest area is part of Fort Union National Monument.   The rest area has all the normal things, rest rooms, information maps and vending machines, but there is more.

Nice picnic area

Isn’t this a nice picnic area?  We liked the overhead cover.   Gives protection from snow, rain and the intense New Mexico sun.  Maybe we will stop here for a picnic on another trip.  We liked this wagon wheel.  Part of old American history.

Wagon wheel. Maybe from Santa Fe Trail travelers?

Santa Fe trail was here

The Santa Fe trail passed through here.   Can you imagine traveling across the desert and over mountains in a covered wagon?   It was still chilly and windy here, so we did not go Fort Union this time.   But mom and I have been here before, so I want to show you more about Fort Union.   I, Zeb the Duck, was very young and this was one of the first trips in my blogging career.   Mom, I, Zeb the Duck, and my Alaska uncle visited here in 2013.

Fort Union, NM with my Alaska uncle

The park rangers told us there were 3 separate forts built on this location.    The first was to protect the Santa Fe Trail, the second to establish a Federal presence in the territory, and the third Fort Union was a Union response to the Confederate invasion.   Those interested in our Civil War should visit here.

Ruins of Fort Union. Two previous forts were closer to mountains.

Also history of Santa Fe Trail.

Santa Fe Trail goes to Fort Union, NM

Ruts from wagons on the Santa Fe Trail are visible in the hard, dry ground.   The third Fort Union is the one most visited.

Adobe remains of officers quarters

This fort was a large supply facility for the southwest.   At one time about 5,000 soldiers lived here.   We were warned to stay on the paved walkway and to watch for rattlesnakes.   It was a sunny day.   Pleasant for us, but rattlesnakes also like sunshine.   We stayed on the path, read the signs, and did not see any snakes.   About those supplies:  In 1868, 44 tons of bacon were brought to Fort Union in 22 wagons.   That’s a lot of bacon.   Many other supplies were also delivered here.

Waiting for supplies

Fort Union had the premier hospital in the region with 6 wards and 36 beds.   You could get treatment and care for 50 cents per day!  Fort Union was abandoned in 1891.   Fort Union is easy to visit, just a rather short drive from I-25.  It is interesting.

Visit Fort Union National Monument

If you visit, watch the film at the Visitor’s Center, and don’t miss the gift shop.   More about our new road trip next time.

Fort Union National Monument

I, Zeb the Duck, visited an old fort.  I went with mom and my Alaska uncle.  Located in New Mexico, Fort Union is well marked and a fascinating place.

Fort Union, NM with my Alaska uncle

Fort Union, NM with my Alaska uncle

The park rangers told us there were 3 separate forts built on this location.  The adobe ruins of the last fort and the accompanying information signs showed the officers areas, the supply areas, the animal areas and so much more.

The first Fort Union was to protect the Santa Fe Trail.  The second was to establish a Federal presence in the territory.  The third Fort Union was a Union response to the Confederate invasion.  Everyone that is interested in Civil War history should visit Fort Union.

Ruins of Fort Union.  Two previous forts were closer to mountains.

Ruins of Fort Union. Two previous forts were closer to mountains.

The Santa Fe Trail went to Fort Union.

Santa Fe Trail goes to Fort Union, NM

Santa Fe Trail goes to Fort Union, NM

We saw the ruts from the wagon traffic.  This third fort was a large supply facility for the southwest.  At one time about 5,000 soldiers lived here.

We saw the adobe ruins as we followed the trail and read the informational signs.

Adobe remains of officers quarters

Adobe remains of officers quarters

We were warned to stay on the paved walkway and to watch for rattlesnakes.  It was a sunny day.  Guess that is good for us but the snakes also like the sunshine.  We did watch but did not see any snakes.

The National Park Service tells us some amazing facts.  As I said, Fort Union provided supplies to many establishments in the southwest.  In 1868, 44 tons of bacon was brought to Fort Union in 22 wagons.  That’s a lot of bacon!

Waiting for supplies

Waiting for supplies

Also, Fort Union had the premier hospital in the region with 6 wards and 36 beds.  You could get treatment and care for 50 cents per day!

Fort Union is located in Watrous, New Mexico, on I-25.  The National Monument is about 20 miles north of Las Vegas, New Mexico and about 100 miles south of the Colorado state line.  The exit is well marked and Fort Union is easy to find.  Visit it and you will have a couple enjoyable hours.  The area has so much vacant land that I could imagine living here 150 years ago.

Visit Fort Union National Monument

Visit Fort Union National Monument

When you visit Fort Union National Monument I hope you watch the film at the Visitors Center.  And don’t miss the gift shop.   For more information visit www.nps.gov