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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ghost Town.

This trip we went back to southern New Mexico.  Pat wanted to see that Rocky Canyon.  Notah and Kerra had been trying to figure out the actual name of the canyon. It was deep and long and they thought sure it should have a name.  They came up with two, but I know the one was wrong.  I don't know about the other..

We went in the way we had come out last week.  It was shorter than the other way.  We turned off the highway onto the graded road.  We turned off the graded road onto a two tire track.  A little ways along that track, Pat thought he saw a grave and wanted to stop so he could look at it.

We're always ready to 'stop and  look.'  Good thing we did.

After they'd walked around for a while I decided the ground was even enough that I'd have no trouble walking so I got out too. I'm glad I did.

There was a grave there.  In fact there were several.  Pat had discovered an old, old graveyard.  A rough path 'paved with a variety of flat stones, had once led among them.  The path was only visible after we'd found the graves. Then it was obvious the stones scattered here and there had once led through the graveyard.   There were no markers remaining, only heaps of stone or sometimes circles of stone surrounding a sunken pile of others.
Beyond the grave yard was the remains of an old well, It had been filled in long before, but the circle of the wall remained.  To the side were three metal rings of the sort once used to bind barrels and buckets.   Like these. 


The rings were small, about 12 inches in diameter, so the bucket or barrel must have been of a size easily carried when filled with water.  The wood had long since rotted away, only the rings remained.

That's all that remained besides tumbleweed and some windblown trash.

Across the road, (I didn't go over because my 'walking around time' was over.)  Kerra found the foundations of houses.  There had e vidently been a small town there that had remained long enough that they needed a cemetary.  I suppose there were eight or ten graves that we saw.  There may have been more scattered among the brush.

It's poignant to think that this is just one of many towns scattered throughout the southwest.  I wondered who the people were who had lived here.  Why did they start a town here in, seemingly, the middle of nowhere.  What did they do for a living?  Did they arrive intentionally or was it a last ditch choice? Did they all leave at once? Or did the town just slowly die?  Or did the well go dry and force them to leave? 

It made me think of the poem by Shelley:  "Nothing beside remains. Round the decay . . .  boundless and bare  The lone and level sands stretch far away.'      

That was the feeling there beside that lonely lost town.    

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Rocky Canyon

I always come back and say, "I wish I had taken pictures."  But on this trip I was too busy holding on to take pictures. 
Let me say first, that if I EVER have an ocassion to buy a pickup truck (at almost seventy and on a limited income)  I will buy a Dodge Ram.  Notah's four wheel drive Ram is amazing.  He takes that truck to the wildest places--places where the incline is so steep I doubted if we could go down, never mind back up.  We have climbed mountains and gone down canyons while I held on for dear life and my kids laughed at me!  One day I came home and my arm was aching from holding the grab bar so tightly for eight hours.
I looked through my photos for a picture of it, but I couldn't find any.  Here's as close as i can come....
That's pretty good. I think Notah's has bigger tires... Don't hold me to the year, etc... I just pulled this of the 'net.
That said I can go on with this account.   
On Saturday we took 25 south past Socorro and then turned off.  I don't keep track of routes and turns.  I just ride.  We turned and turned again while Notah and Kerra discussed where to go and how to get there.   
We followed another one of Notah's 'here's the road, it goes this way' kind of 'roads'.  It led across a couple flats and up a ridge, around another slope and down into a canyon.  It was a beautiful ride. 
Then we started up a canyon. To be honest there were tracks, but I'm not sure what made them.  Not a normal pickup, that's for sure.  The way led up a gorgeous canyon,  In places the rock wall went straight up and there was just room for the truck at the bottom.  At different times rain sent wat er rushing through it. Thank goodness there was none today, although in a couple place we looked off to the side and saw little streams or pools.   
I don't have words to describe it but it went on and on. A couple times I thought Notah would surely turn around, but no, he said we could  make it...  And we did.   
In some places the rocks came right down to the road with a bit of scrub brush along the base. In others pines and juniper marched right down the steep slope.  A couple times Notah stopped and debated which fork to take.  I don't believe he made the wrong choice at any time, but twice I remember looking back at what had seemed a good way to go. Both of those times I saw that the way was blocked at the end by a pile of rocks.  Notah seems to have an instinct for choosing the 'road.' 
We drove up that long canyon and finally climbed up to a ridge.  And it was worth the trip! We stopped and looked around for a while.  The dogs jumped down.  I think we only took Bella and Thain on that trip.  Babycake tends to get in too much trouble.  Mia was a rescue picked up from under a cattle guard.  She is afraid to get in a vehicle.  I think she relates it to being dumped along the road and starving for several days before Kerra coaxed her out.  (Kerra will pick up any lost or abandoned dog. I think they have collected four or five to date.  Three went to good homes. Two ((Mia and Babycake)) still live with them.) 
To go on,  Bella and Thain jumped out to run around.  The family spread out in different directions.  I held down the fort at the truck.  I mean, well, we wouldn't want anybody to steal it while everyone was gone!   Seth climbed along the smooth rocks opposite the truck.  Notah and Kerra walked across the wash and went along the slope on the other side.  They were gone several minutes  a half hour maybe.  
Here's the exciting part.  When they came back I found out Seth had seen a...ready for it...A WOLF!   He had gone up that smooth slope of rock he was on and hiked around behind it.  In the distance above him he'd seen a 'dog' trotting along the ridge.  Thinking it was Thain he'd called it but the dog ignored him.  He called across to his mom and dad asking if Thain was with them.   They whistled and Thain popped up right there between them...  Seth had seen a wolf.  
Now, remember a few weeks ago when I'd seen that track?   Yep.  Turns out there are wolves in that part of the mountains.  There has been a program introducing Mexican Gray Wolves back into the southwest. (Check here for a video and more info.  http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/   I don't post exactly where we are in these blogs.  Enough to say that it wasn't the Apache Nat'l Forest.  There have been releases in NM, too.  And no one but Notah needs to know where we were.)
The neatest thing is that I really did see a wolf track!  WOW.
We got back in the truck and went down in that wash I mentioned.  It turned into another canyon.   After winding up that one, just as rough and rocky as the first,  Notah decided we needed to turn around.  It was getting on toward evening and we weren't sure how far it would be to the next paved road.  He backed up until he found a place that would let him turn around.  (A space the size of a postage stamp in my estimation!)
As dark was coming on we followed the original route back out.   On the hillside, as we made out way out the first canyon, there was a herd of deer, five or six, climbing the slope up from the bottom.  Shortly after that two elk were trekking up the canyon slope too.  It was the first time I'd ever seen elk in the wild! 
None of the animals seemed at all worried about the big red truck disturbing the peace.  The paused and looked at it then went on up the hill.
It was dark the time we were back on the road--by a diffferent route let me say.  Notah said, 'this will take us out and drove off on another ffork.  Sure enough it led to a graded road that led to the highway.   How's he do that? 
Must be generations of Navajo ancestors finding their way through their homeland.