Rehoboth Mission Cemetery
I couldn't go on a trip out West without checking Kaylah's blog for ideas—especially since the highlight of this trip was attending her ghost town wedding! I always plan a million stops before I start any road trip, but there's always time to squeeze in a few more places, and Rehoboth Mission Cemetery was one of these last-minute additions to our itinerary.
As much as I love exploring cemeteries, finding the right research source for locating good ones has of yet eluded me. The Find A Grave app is helpful, but I often get annoyed by the lack of information available. If it's not a well-documented cemetery, I'm not able to determine whether the cemetery is going to be interesting, or a total bust. I suppose the unknown is part of the fun of exploring, but I cram a lot into these trips and ain't nobody got time for that.
But thanks to Kaylah's post, I knew that the Rehoboth Mission Cemetery was worth a stop, and we were also prepared for the somewhat strange route we had to take to get there. To access the cemetery, you have to drive through the Rehoboth Christian School campus and it feels as if outsiders might not be welcome, despite a sign literally declaring "all are welcome." Past the parking lot is a winding dirt road that continues up a hillside, eventually ending at the cemetery. There was actually a moment when we wondered if we should park our car and walk but whatever you do, don't do that (just keep driving!).
The Rehoboth Christian School was started in 1903 by Christian missionaries who came to New Mexico to spread the word of God to the Navajo and Zuni peoples (the white crosses mark missionary graves). In the 1940s, a high school was added and today the school has more than 500 preK-12th grade students, 68% of which are Native American. I couldn't find much information about the cemetery itself, but it's a beautiful place to visit and unlike most of the cemeteries that I frequent here on the East Coast.
Most of the grave markers here are pretty simple, but the graves themselves are elaborately decorated and obviously maintained. This cemetery is exactly what I imagined a desert cemetery to look like—dusty but colorful, both dead and very much alive at the same time. The grounds may have literally felt alive, not because of spirits, but because of extremely fast little lizards that kept darting across my feet—each one startling me more than any spirit ever could.
Rehoboth Mission Cemetery
7 Tse Yaaniichii Lane
Rehoboth, NM 87322
Once you're on the school campus, follow the signs for "cemetery" and be prepared to drive for a while on a winding, dirt road—just go slow!