The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930 Page: 71
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An Anonymous Description of New Mexico, 1818
draws, and from one of these there comes out the large river8 along
which the foreigners are accustomed to travel for water as far as
the foot of the sierra. Along any part of the sierra in this space
one may cross to descend to the Rio Grande del Norte. There are
plains as far as the Sierra Blanca. This (sierra) may be cut across
at the head by this same large river and is open from the entrance
as far as Aviquiu or Ojo Caliente, as verified by Paik (Pike) Rovin-
son (Robinson) and ten other Anglo-Americans who took the route
of Paik.64 From the slope of the Rallado to Taos there are fifteen
or eighteen leagues through the Canyon of San Fernando, which
is the best entrance because that of the Canoncito de los Indios
is too troublesome.85 From this (road) to the Rio de las Animas,
there are three days' travel and more than thirty leagues across
the Sierra of Sicorica, not where it unites with the Napestle, but
a day and a half's journey further up. Along the open road to
the Napestle lower down where the Rio del Almagre66 joins with
it there are fifteen leagues, more or less. From Sangre de Cristo
to the Napestle are a little more than twenty leagues. The Detach-
ment of Sangre de Cristo could make reconnoissance of all this
front of the Napestle frequently, and that of the Gap of the Sierra
Blanca all the Valleys of Sierra del Almagre along the shoulder,
route to the north, and all the cordillera of the same Sierra of
Sangre de Cristo, which, with the Vado, are the four principal
points which must be covered in case of invasion.67 Following the
"The "large river" (rio grande) here referred to is probably the South
"Pike, however, according to Coues, crossed at Sand Hill Pass and did
not, as Melgares believed, enter from the South Platte River.
"Eighteen leagues is the distance usually given by the Spaniards in their
diaries from Taos to the eastern foot of the present Taos Range.
"Rio de Almagre is present Fountain Creek, which flows into the Ar-
kansas River at Pueblo, Colo.
U7The four points are the crest of the Rallado, the Vado, the pass over
Sangre de Cristo, and the gap in the Sierra Blanca. Various details estab-
lish that the gap was Sand Hill Pass. One must keep in mind the various
mountain units the Spaniards recognized. For one thing, they distinguished
between Sierra Blanca and Sangre de Cristo ranges, recognizing the former
as the continuation of the latter. Again, the Wet Mountains, their Sierra
Mojada, were distinguished from Sierra del Almagre, the latter embracing
the present "Front Range" north of the Arkansas River. Accordingly,
Melgares' remark that the detachment at the gap of the Sierra Blanca
could reconnoiter "all the valleys of Sierra del Almagre along the shoulder
to the north, and all the cordillera of the same Sierra of Sangre de Cristo"
makes it clear that the gap referred to is above the Sangre de Cristo Pass.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930, periodical, 1930; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101090/m1/79/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.