Have you encountered a medallion tree? If not, plan to embark on an engaging journey through history. The adventure starts east of Albuquerque in the Sandia Mountains.
What is a medallion tree?
Each tree is marked with a small, silver medallion mounted chest high from the ground. These medallions are engraved with:
- A year
- Name of an event
- A number
For example, an engraving could read “French Indian War ~ 1757.” The year is said to coincide with the tree’s germination date (engraved GD). Documented medallion dates range from 1371-1959.
There are several medallion trees to discover in the region (up to 84). While the creator (or creators) have yet to become public, this work represents the magical discovery of history in unsuspecting places.
Don’t forget! History is by no means boring. Some medallions may have you second-guessing your discovery, as gory details are randomly engraved along with traditional events.
How did they get there?
It would seem the creator (or creators) behind this artwork painstakingly made multiple journeys to select each tree, age them by discovering the germination date, create the medallion, and then return to tag each one.
The age of each medallion is unknown and yet some appear significantly more weathered than others. However, replacements of weathered medallions have been excitedly noted by fans, like medallion #85. Wherever they may be, the creator’s good deeds do not go unnoticed.
Where you can find them
Visitors suggest a discovery hike along or near the Faulty Trail on the east side of the Sandias. Other visitors highly recommend the use of local publications with information on each location. The Faulty Trail featured in Hikes 2 and 14 in the 3rd Edition of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Albuquerque is a common reference.
Regardless if the discovery is a surprise or intentional, hikers from near and far enjoy the activity of viewing as many medallions as possible. Documenting the process is half the fun! Guests share online versions of photo journals while others divulge all the secret details of where to go and when. Check out this Facebook group for more information on planning your own trip.
Remember, history is fun!