Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Natural Arch, Del Norte, Colorado

I had this bright idea that we had to go see the Natural Arch. It was listed as something to see while we were in Del Norte, and the map showed it was not very far from where we were camped. The only bad thing is that it was 12 miles on a Rio Grande National Forest road of dirt full of pits and washboard. Jim was not happy about beating up the Excursion going to see the arch. But once we got going on the road, we kept going. There was actually a subdivision out there in the middle of the Forest Land. Anyway, when we got to the end, I thought we were going to have to hike some more to see the arch, but I turned around and there it was. 

This valley is considered A Sacred Place. It was home to many Native American tribes. The Natural Arch was an important landmark to the Red and White Clans of the Jicarilla Apache, Moache and Kapote bands of the Utes.

The Jicarilla Apache name for this place is "T se wa go an" or "Hole in Rock." ~~ "This was a place where the Jicarilla and Ute would meet, hold ceremonies together, and plan how to battle the Comanche. At this place, people would smudge to purify themselves." ~~ Brian Vigil, Jacarilla Apache elder

The Ute word for this place is "Kweeahghaat-ti Kahn" or "Bears Den." ~~ "We were told it is sacred. Female bear gave us our life. Ceremonies and prayers would be held here. These would occur especially at the solstice, the times when the sun or moon would line up and radiate directly through the hole in the rock. The reason for this ceremony is that the Sun has gotten to one home and will now turn around and go to the other." Alden Naranjo, Southern Ute elder

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