The Spanish Trails

The two northernmost provinces of the Spanish Empire in the Americas were New Mexico and California.  In those days, long before cars and trains and even wagon-roads, the only feasible route for traveling between them lay along the edges of the mountains where water and grass were available for the mules and horses.  The Spanish trails led northwest from Santa Fe into Colorado and followed the flank of the San Juan Mountains westward, hopping from river to river - rivers which still bear their Spanish names: Piedra, Los Piños, La Plata.  There were several alternative trails.  At least one must have followed the Florida River (still correctly pronounced locally, florída), a lush green valley in summer, to descend through the gap in the hills directly east of our motel into the wide Animas valley.  The site of the Spanish Trails Inn & Suites has been a stopping-point for travelers for hundreds of years.