Thursday, 2 July 2009
Signs of Civilization
Still on the road....
We came out of Roswell along the not too dramatic Hondo River, then turned along the Rio Benito into the Capitan Mountains at just the right time. A rainstorm the day before had set the high plains ablaze in colorful blossoms.
This is the land of Billy the Kid and Smokey the Bear. Smokey was found as a cub clinging to a burnt out tree after a forest fire in the Capitan Gap. There is still a marker near the spot on Hwy 380 near Lincoln.
Back in 1881, three years after the close of the Lincoln County War (Oh.. the Ranchers and the Farmers should be friends...) and less than three months before his death, Billy the Kid made his last, and perhaps his most spectacular, jailbreak from the Lincoln jail.
Lincoln was founded in 1860 after the US Army had "brought the Mescalero Apaches under control" (Apparently they had been naughty indians). Originally settled by Spanish farmers, with the name Los Placitas del Rio Bonito (much prettier) the town was renamed Lincoln when the county was formed, and named Lincoln in 1869.
Stopping along the road to take pictures of the flowers, we found the sign posted on the front of a locked gate. We decided not to stay and visit with the Thomases in spite of their obvious hospitality, but I did wonder how the US Army in 1860 would have responded if the Apaches had put out such a sign..."Sgt, blow retreat, it's back to the fort for us.. we can't intrude on private land..." (or maybe not)..
I suppose if I really wanted the land I could go in and challenge them to a fight for it, as the precedent for using force had been clearly established, but except for the flowers, the land held little that seemed worthy of a fight. SO, we took off down across the high plains, perhaps the same direction by which Billy the Kid escaped. Off toward Soccorro and the Very Large Array Observatory, and along the way we passed the Trinity site, where the Atomic Bomb was first tested.... Civilization....