CARNERO CREEK CEMETERY
El Camposanto del Carnero
Walking along the path from St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, past the San Juan Bautista Monument and the St. John Paul II Rosary Walk is the Carnero Creek Cemetery. Located on the eastern portion of the San Juan Catholic Spiritual Center, the cemetery sits within the striking beauty of the vast San Luis Valley and the majestic Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Mountain ranges.
The Carnero Creek Cemetery has been in use since the original church was built in the late 1800s and is still used today for burials by descendants of the earliest settlers and other local residents. Winding your way between grave sites, reading the inscriptions and names on the old stone markers, one can only imagine the strength and absolute faith in God and each other that these first Hispano Catholic settlers possessed. Names such as Alarid, Silva, Torrez, Trujillo, Martinez, Sierra, Atencio, Garcia, Rodriquez, Lucero, Valdez, and Archuleta. The oldest grave markers show only carved crosses on large stones. There are also graves that have creative commemorative displays to more modern grave markers with etched marble that express personal and religious messages.
Although Carnero Creek Cemetery is not one of manicured green grass and shade trees but of prairie grass, wind, and silk flowers decorating graves, there is a unique beauty that surrounds it with great vistas of the mountain ranges, green crops from distant farms and wild sunflowers standing tall and bright. It creates an appreciation for the Hispanos who left their homes in New Mexico to build a new community and who were instrumental in starting a new parish in this isolated and rugged high mountain valley.