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Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Photo: Sangre de Cristo Mountains
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains (Spanish for “Blood of Christ”) are the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains. They are located in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in the United States. The mountains run from Poncha Pass in South-Central Colorado, trending southeast and south, ending at Glorieta Pass, southeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The mountains contain a number of fourteen thousand foot peaks in the Colorado portion, as well as all the peaks in New Mexico which are over thirteen thousand feet.
The name, Spanish for “blood of Christ”, is said to come from the red color of the range at some sunrises and sunsets, especially when the mountains are covered with snow, alpenglow. However the particular origin of the name is unclear, and the name in fact only dates back to the early 19th century. Before that time the terms “La Sierra Nevada”, “La Sierra Madre”, “La Sierra”, and “The Snowies” (used by English speakers) were used. Sometimes the archaic Spanish spelling “Christo” is used.[snip]
The Sangre de Cristo Range, the largest and most northerly subrange of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, runs directly along the east side of the Rio Grande Rift, extending southeast from Poncha Pass for about 75 miles (120 km) through south-central Colorado to La Veta Pass, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of Walsenburg. They form a high ridge separating the San Luis Valley on the west from the watershed of the Arkansas River on the east.