So Jeri and I decided to pay another visit to our old wild and crazy friends, the Gallina.
This was actually a very delightful site. Getting to the place was the usual exercise in creative wayfinding, with the expected lack of signage. The last few hundred yards up to the parking area was nicely rough and certainly not a route you’d want to take a Honda Civic or Prius (although I’ve done worse with less). But upon reaching the end of the road there’s a wonderful parking area and a very fine trail leading off from it.
Did I mention the fine trail? Why yes I did! Those nice folks at the Santa Fe National Forest (presumably) hauled craploads of gravel up there at some point and covered the trail with it, making for an excellent walking surface. Lots of shade in a cool, and very high, forest environment.
The trail ascends to the top of a ridge and hits a T intersection, with trails running off to the right and left. They both pass various Gallina ruins and eventually end. The combined length along the top of the ridge of both trails is maybe 1/2 mile.
While I could describe the place, this excerpt from a 2009 publication called “Site Lines”, describes it well:
Rattlesnake Ridge is the largest documented village site in the Gallina area. Extending more than half a mile along a ridge, the village comprises nine single unit dwellings, two multiroom structures, three towers, three pit houses, related storage rooms, and a reservoir system. Numerous excavations have been conducted at Rattlesnake Ridge including those by F.H. Hibben in the late 1930s, Roger Greene in the 1960s, and Florence Hawley Ellis between 1976 and 1989. The Forest Service constructed a path to the primary site features; backcountry hiking trails lead to the remainder. Bg 20-1 is the largest excavated tower in the Gallina region. It has remained open since the 1980s and now is showing moisture damage at the base and in the northwest wall.
I will sheepishly admit we didn’t explore far enough off the improved trails and as a result failed to see the towers. This is unfortunate, as towers are a hallmark of the paranoid Gallina. Reason for another trip, I guess.