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How accessible is accessible: Pecos national historical park

Photography by Randy Martinez

I left home when I was seventeen years old and have been traveling ever since! I love traveling because I learn so much by experiencing things for myself! Traveling has taught me about places I’ve never heard of, history I’ve never read about in books, how cultures lived and about myself.

There’s a lot of conversations being had lately about accessibility. It feels like it’s the latest trend. And while trends can be good if they help bring awareness that lead to changing things for the better, I have noticed that disabled people are being left out of the conversation! Just the other day, I caught the end of a panel discussion on accessibility being Live Streamed on Instagram, and not one person on the panel was disabled!

When talking about accessibility, I believe it’s important to include everyone in the conversation! I’ve been fighting to find my place in our society my entire life being a woman, who is Puerto Rican, now add being disabled to my existence! Too often we are excluded from planning, discussions, the media, advertisements, ambassadorships, partnerships, job opportunities, panels, live streams, workshops, and more… but I’m here to do my part in bringing awareness in hopes of bringing change!

Having access allows everyone the opportunity to learn, to create, to connect and to be happy!

While planning my recent trip to New Mexico, I learned about a Park called Pecos National Historical Park. The Park is only 25 miles Southeast of Santa Fe, off the I-25. As it was not far from where I was staying in Santa Fe, I added it to my list of National Parks to cover in The Disabled Photographer Project & How Accessible Is Accessible series. I never heard of this park until planning this trip, and I have to say I am so happy that I included it in the itinerary when I visited 8 National Parks in 8 days.

Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021

The Sangre de Cristo mountains pass has provided safe passage for thousands of years. Some people came for survival, some came for trade, some came for hunting, and some came for conquest and riches. Whether you’re into ancestral sites, battlefield trails or just being outdoors, Pecos National Historical Park offers something for everyone!

It was established as a National Monument in 1965 and redesigned a National Historical Park in 1990.

Be sure to stop at the Visitor Center to see if they have the GPS Audio guided tours available shown in the video, or any films, exhibits or events.

The Rangers and Volunteers at the Park are very knowledgeable and happy to share information about the Park! I am so appreciative to Ranger Eric for speaking with us on camera about accessibility at the park.

As we discuss in the Youtube Video, there is a 1.25 mile trail from the Visitor Center that goes through the Pecos Pueblo and Mission Church Sites. This trail is doable, but for many reasons discussed in the video, only portions of the trail are ADA compliant.

The nice thing about this park is that they offer another option of driving up to the Picnic area and parking closer to the Mission Church. The walk from the parking lot to the church is about a hundred yards.

Keep in mind that Pecos elevation is seven thousand feet. I am not used to being at that altitude so I experienced shortness of breath. I was definitely affected by it!

Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021

Do not put your hands anywhere, don’t climb, sit or lean on the ancient walls and Beware of Rattlesnakes! I noticed signs at a number of locations. Rattlesnakes can be found along the trails in the summer. If you see one, do not provoke them, report it to a Ranger.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind at the park:

-Pace yourself, take your time, rest when you need to

-Stay hydrated bring at least a gallon of water with you

-Bring snacks or food to eat and enjoy the picnic area

-Wear a hat, sunscreen, chapstick and I like to wear a shirt to cover my arms

-Wear comfortable walking shoes

-Be aware that the weather changes from moment to moment

-Leashed pets are allowed on trails

Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021

Pecos National Historical Park is FREE except for commercial groups and special use permits. Standard hours are 8:00 AM-4:30 PM and during the summer months they’re open until 5:30pm. Always check to see if there are any alerts, and If you are using the National Park Service app, remember that all of the information that is found on the app is not always 100% accurate!

Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021

I hope you enjoyed this edition of The Disabled Photographer Project How Accessible Is Accessible series. Thank you for reading the blog and be sure to subscribe to the blog & Youtube channel.

Contributions help keep The Disabled Photographer Project "How Accessible Is Accessible" series going, so if you’d like to support the project, you can do so by making a Donation:

The project is also currently seeking partnerships, sponsors, grants, and ambassadorships. For inquiries contact Denise Vasquez

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