Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Off the Beaten Path…But Great History

When I last wrote I was spending the weekend in Ft Stockton until I could see someone about my wheel bearings…I was there first light…Owner was very professional and straight forward…The kinda person you think about being a Texas Cow Hand(a straight shooter)…sorta like George Strait.  Bottom line there was a problem, that was going about to turn uglier in short order” …An hour half later and a couple “bucks” lighter I was on my way to New Mexico…
(c)2016HorstKelly Photographer  Mural…Alpine Tx

Headed north on US  285….not much in the way of scenery…Five years ago you couldn’t even find a “Road Kill” on that stretch of Highway…Now that Road has turned into Black Gold and made many “dirt poor” ranchers millionaires or close to it…and it continues to the south end of Carlsbad. The real problem is all the 18 wheelers carrying water/dirt and are trying to make as many loads as possible in a day…speed limit be damned…

When I got to the area it was still early so I decided not to go to Cloudcroft…instead I headed north to Roswell and then West on US 70…Just before Capitan I went South a few miles( Rt 220) to the Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area/Ft Stanton.  There is a BLM campground…has 5 electric sites 5 water only and another handful of dispersed sites…with a Golden Pass electric site is $2.50 per day…being lazy I took it instead of taking out and setting up the solar…It is primary  used as an Equestrian facility….but there wasn’t a sole there besides a “Host”..I guessing the weekend it fills up fast.

This area has two diamonds in the rough..and a special touch of “wonder”…I’ll try to keep it short…and let you Goggle the details..First is Lincoln(town)..It’s made Famous due to Billy the Kid hanging out here…most of the TV movies where of this time period…This is where he and a bunch of his Friends(gang) where made Regulators….and he was in the middle of the “Lincoln County War” , I think the town has done a good job of retaining a lot of the original important structures, it also has a museum, etc…you can walk the length of the town without much physical effort(even for an old man like me) …and it hasn’t become a Disney Land side show like Tombstone.
(c)2016HorstKelly Photographer
(c)2016HorstKelly Photographer
(c)2016HorstKelly Photographer

                                   The next attraction was a couple miles down the road called Fort Stanton….What a spectacular  history it has…with an assortment of different Missions throughout the years. It was established in 1855 as part of the campaign against the Mescalero Apaches. By 1896 troops where no longer required and it closed its doors. A lot of history between those two date.  One interesting footnote is that “Black Jack” Pershing began his Military Career there.
Parade Grounds (c)2016HorstKelly Photographer
Officers Quarters (c)2016HorstkellyPhotographer

n 1899 Pres. McKinley opened it as a tuberculosis Hospital …It was also used as a CCC Camp  for 200 Young Men. Part of it became an Internment Camp housing German Seaman(Mar 1941-Aug 1945)(331 sailors).

Catholic Church Ft. Stanton NM
In 1952 The Fort because owned by the State an opened as a facility for the care of the mentally challenged.that ceased operation in 1996. It was then used(until 1999) as a Women's State Corrections Facility…From 2000-2009 it operated as a drug rehabilitation Center.  In 2007 the Governor designated the Fort as a New Mexico State Monument and is now a Historic Site.

I spend about 90 minutes there and truly enjoyed myself.

Last my by no means least…is Smokey Bear…it was in these there Hills that the bear cub was found clinging to a burnet out tree….the year was 1950. He was rescued and the rest is History…He lived another 23 years….One note of interest..His name is Smokey Bear, not Smokey THE Bear as some have been known to call him.

All in all it was a great two days and now I’m off on a new, yet undecided destination..need to find a place to post WIFI nor and 4 or even 3 G on my  phone..though I do have cell coverage to place calls..Until next time…Happy Trails…Horst sends

The Gap in the Mnts is where he was found hanging onto a tree


  1. Really glad you were able to find the problem before it became a PROBLEM. Enjoyed our fifteen minutes in Lincoln on a Sunday morning back in June. Would love to get back to the area and spend more time exploring. Great pics, looking forward to many more.

    1. I think it all part of the Adventure...Lincoln was prety neat...I too got their on a Sunday morning and nothing much was open...Hope this finds you and Wanda doing well...Horst sends