Part Five: Exploring Taos and “Meeting” Kit Carson
This was our rest day. We played at being tourists and wandered around Taos. One of the other pilgrims was interested in Kit Carson so the two of us spent our day at the Kit Carson museum. The museum is in Carson’s original adobe home. We toured the museum and saw the wide variety of artifacts including Kit Carson’s desk and military saber. Some of the rooms were set up like the family was still living there and others were more like a museum with cases full of artifacts. There was a case full of artifacts that were excavated from the placita (courtyard) in front of the house.
After touring the museum, we walked to the cemetery where Kit Carson is buried. I expected a huge monument and a lot of fanfare but instead, it is a sleepy little country cemetery with a scattering of graves across a patch of long grass. There were many willow trees providing shade. Carson’s grave is just a simple slab of stone with his name and the date: May 23rd, 1868. Aged 59 years. There is a railing around the grave and an American flag flying over it but it is very unpretentious.
We had lunch near the cemetery and then took a quick visit to Taos Plaza. Taos Plaza was established in the early 1800’s. It is at the end of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro which is the king’s highway from Mexico City. We saw the historic Hotel La Fonda in the Plaza. The current building is from the 1920s but there has been a hotel on this site since the early 1600’s.
In the late afternoon, we all gathered to walk to Taos Pueblo where we would stay the night as guests of the governor of the Taos Nation.