Keltin and I had the opportunity to visit a couple of historical sites over the summer. The first of which was Bent’s Old Fort outside of La Junta, CO. This was fun day trip out from his parent’s place in Southwestern Kansas. It is $10 for adults to visit and there are restrooms both at the parking lot and at the fort.
This fort is an accurate (as possible) reconstruction of the original fort in the same location as the original fort. The original foundation was excavated and the reconstruction began in the 1970s. The old fort was burned after a cholera epidemic. Bent then built a “new” for a few miles away. This was not a military fort. The military did pay Bent to stay here but this fort’s primary purpose was to be a way to trading post. This was a place where settlers, Native Tribes, trappers, and anyone else could come to buy and sell goods. Beaver pelts and later buffalo hides (also know as buffalo coats) were the primary form of currency.
Yes, there were peacocks at the fort. They were well liked by the people at the time. No, the historical interpreter that we spoke to was not sure how the original peacock ended up at the fort. All of the domestic animals at the fort today would also have been there in the forts heyday. We saw:
There is also a Red Devonshire Ox that lives on the grounds surrounding the fort but we did not see him. Apparently these oxen mate for life and his mate had pasted and he was in mourning. The oxen would have pulled the wagons and, according to historical record, were favored by Bent. They are less flighty than horse and less likely to be stolen.
We also saw a variety of wild birds and bats. The historical interpreter did tell us that the local bat colonies were being studied . They did not appear to be carrying any particular diseases that are harmful to humans. That being said, don’t touch wild bats. Leave them alone. You can see and hear their squeaks in my video below.
We visited during the summer and yes, it was hot. There is a water fountain but I suggest bringing a water bottle and snacks as there doesn’t appear to be any places conveniently close to pickup food. There are also short walking trails at the Historic Site. Even if you don’t plan on taking the walking trails I do suggest wearing good walking shoes as it is a bit of a walk from the parking lot to the fort itself.
We had a great time at visiting Bent’s Old Fort. It was a beautiful day and there weren’t too many other visitors. It it worth is to make a day trip out to this fort. To see a place where people could gather. Have you ever been out here or some place similar? Let me know in the comments. Remember to leave no trace and safe travels!
Thank you KW Photography for allowing me to use your wonderful photos!
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