Friday, October 24, 2008

Destination - Angel Fire, New Mexico

Up early, it's hard to believe that it takes us nearly 8 hours to cover the remaining 90 miles, but in this "crew," is both a ghost town enthusiast as well as a nature/scenery aficionado, and to make matters worse, I get us lost at least twice. Not that I don't know the way to our destination, I just couldn't remember the way to the old coal mining camp of Dawson. And more, the drive from Raton to Eagle Nest, New Mexico is beautiful and darn it, just requires a bunch of stops. After getting "unlost," we check out the old ghost town town of Colfax and drive towards the historic Dawson Cemetery that holds the remains of more than 300 men who lost their lives in two coal mine disasters early in the 20th century.

Finally, we're on our way to Cimarron, one of the wildest Old West towns in New Mexico history. Built as the headquarters of the largest land grant in American History, the old settlement along the Cimarron branch of the Santa Fe Trail, was once visited or called home to such historic characters as Clay Allison, Black Jack Ketchum, Jesse James, and Buffalo Bill Cody. This historic old town continues to boast a number of historic buildings, including the extremely haunted St. James Hotel, which continues to display some two dozen bullet holes in its antique tin ceiling. Also here, is the Aztec Mill, built in 1864 by Lucien B. Maxwell and today serves as a museum, the Immaculate Conception Church, which also dates back to 1864, and a number of other buildings that we visit on the "walking tour."

Then we're off again through Cimarron Canyon, where as children, we spent a lot of time hiking, wading in the extremely cold Cimarron River, and stopping at the long gone Clear Creek Store. Some of the most wonderful memories in my life, we again visit an ancient spring, are awe-inspired by the Pallisades, take photos of huge carved out log that part of the creek runs through, and are excited by the fact, that though it's a little early, there is already Fall color in the canyon.

Only after my concerned brother, John, calls do we finally make our way through Eagle Nest and continue on to his home in the Moreno Valley. Garnering the keys to my mother's Angel Fire condo, we finally land for the evening. Alas, it will probably be the last time, as it is up for sale and she recently got an offer. This; however, will not stop me from returning to this wonderful valley year after year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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