I mentioned that there was another PIT project that I may participate in, in September. Well, it been finalized and I will participate for sure. This will be an archaeological survey as well but this time we’ll be looking for the remains of an 1870’s toll road and the remnants of any structures related to the toll road. Additionally we will look for any signs of the earlier Old Spanish Trail which was known to go through the area. We may even do a little excavating which is something I haven’t done yet on a PIT project.
The project will be the third week in September which is usually the peak time for fall colors in the mountains. This promises to be one of most scenic and interesting projects yet.
I actually had my choice of this project and another one the same week that was in northern New Mexico. It was difficult to choose between the two but the Colorado one was closer and to be able to work in the mountains at the peak of fall colors won out.
I have applied for two other Passport In Time projects the week following this one and hopefully I’ll get chosen for one of them. It’s shaping up to be a busy fall…stay tuned.
Here’s the official write up for the Old Spanish Trail PIT.
Old Spanish Trail & Early Toll Road Survey and Excavation
Sept 13–18, 2009 (including weekends)
Must commit to minimum of 2 days
In the early 1870s there was a rush to explore new mining opportunities in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. In 1871, as a result of the increased influx of interested parties, Otto Mears established the Saguache-San Juan Toll Road, which spanned the distance from the San Luis valley to the then up-and-coming town of Lake City.
The toll road is no longer visible in its entirety, but several sections of it have been relocated. Just a few miles northwest of the Cochetopa Indian Agency is a site that is believed to be a stage stop for the toll road. A stone foundation, a well, and a scatter of associated artifacts are present at this site. PIT volunteers and Forest staff will test (and possibly excavate, on a limited basis) the site to determine its association with the toll road and determine a time period for its occupation. Additionally, we will survey along the known (1870s) route of the toll road for remnants of other sections and possible evidence of the Old Spanish Trail, which also ran through the area.
Volunteers interested in this project will not submit applications as usual. If you are interested and available for the project dates, contact GMUG N.F. archaeologist Justin Lawrence directly. He can answer all inquiries and accept commitments for participation.
Number of openings: 10
Special skills: Must be physically able to hike moderate to long distances over potentially rough terrain daily, and in highly variable weather conditions; previous excavation experience helpful, but not required
Minimum age: 12 years old, under 18 with a responsible adult
Facilities: Tent and RV camping available at the Old Agency Ranger Station; electricity and working toilet at O.A. Ranger Station, no water or other facilities; volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment, food, and water; Gunnison is a full-service community with hotels/motels, restaurants, and a full range of other amenities; those opting to stay in Gunnison must provide own transportation to and from designated meeting area each day
Nearest towns: Gunnison, 40 miles
Thanks for visiting.