Paraje San Diego (click the link to be taken to the post for that marker). Paraje San Diego was the last stop before leaving the safety of the Rio Grande River.
The danger of leaving the river was being away from water. However, at this point, some 10 miles north of Las Cruces, the route along the Rio Grande was full of dangerous cliffs and other perils. So the Camino Real stretched off to the west, and for 100 miles, leading up to Paraje Fra Cristobal (click the link to be taken to the post for that marker), had no reliable water source. This stretch of the trail, a "jornada", a dangerous trail between parajes that must be traveled in a single day due to lack of water, became infamously known as the Jornada del Muerto, or "Journey of the Dead Man."
The town of Socorro to the north of the Jornada got its name because of the sad state of many Pueblo travelers once they reached it (Socorro means "help" or "assistance" in Spanish). During the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, Spanish refugees retreated across the Jornada, losing over 800 of their group to the elements.
Today the Jornada del Muerto lives as a testament to the difficult conditions that our ancestors in the area endured to survive, and to show us the resolve they had to reach their destinations.
If you'd like to learn more about the Jornada del Muerto or the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, please check out the following links, my sources for this post:
- El Camino Real International Heritage Center: Jornada del Muerto: The Journey of Death
- The Southwest Railfan: The Jornada del Muerto Explained
- Wikipedia: Jornada del Muerto
- New Mexico Art Tells New Mexico History: El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro
- El Camino Real Timeline (pdf) at BLM.gov
- Wikipedia: El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro
- The map view of this particular marker can be seen HERE