Though today was to be a “town day,” we changed plans and went to Puye Cliff Dwellings, about an hour north and west of Santa Fe. It is operated by the Santa Clara Puebloans, direct descendants of the earlier residents. We had been here before, years ago and looked forward to another visit.
“Puye” means “where rabbits gather.” A guide today told us the name came from the number of rabbits here that are seen at some times of the year in groupings. On our earlier visit, we were told a story that was culturally related, but I can’t recall the specifics.
Dwellings are on two levels, along the face of the cliff and on top of the mesa. We took only the mesa top tour; we had done both that and the cliff side tour before, when Bob opted to climb down the side of the cliff face to those dwellings. All tours are guided, because there had been vandalism and littering when they allowed self-guided tours.
A van carried 10 of us and our guide, Royce, to the top. He shared the history and current conditions of the area. The dwellings were home to 1,000-1,500 Pueblo Indians between the 900s and 1580 A.D., when they migrated to the Rio Grande Valley because of a drought. With excavation begun in 1907, the Puye Cliffs was the first of the ancient pueblos of the Rio Grande Valley to be excavated.
Santa Cara is given here as the location, which is not accurate. Santa Clara is bear, but the location is actually Hernandez.
See the photo album for Puye for more information.
When we returned to SF, we walked to The Shed for lunch, just missing a downpour. By the time we left, the sun was out again.