Back in april of '05 I had just returned to arizona after being gone for a year working in the tiny middle eastern country of Qatar.
The company I worked for was the 2nd worst employer I have ever had. Anyway, Being back in the USA I tend to get bored quickly so I began to look around for something to do
I was riding my mountain bike around town and saw a 1999 blazer for sale. I bought the thing then drove it to my storage locker and loaded it down with guns and gear .
Taking the wheels off of my mountain bike I managed to cram it in there also.
There was an old friend of mine who managed an Organic Beef ranch along the canadian river, near wagon mound New Mexico. I made the decision to Head over to his place to see if He was still there.
Now, wagon mound is about 600 miles or so from Douglas, arizona. I headed north out of Douglas toward Rodeo New Mexico, then made a right on HWY #9 going toward Columbus,NM.
Supposedly The town of columbus has the distinction of being the only town in the USA invaded by poncho Villa back in the day. I dont know if that is true or not because I heard stories in Douglas of how Poncho would cause trouble on the North side of the border in that town, so, who knows??
I continued to drive east through the towns of Hachita and animas. It is interesting to note that the Apache Indians were still raiding ranches in this area until the late 1930's, they had a stronghold in the Jaguar mountains of mexico about 60 miles south of Douglas, Arizona near the Mexican town of Nacori Chico in Sonora.
You can find more info about the Apaches in the book They never surrendered: Broncho Apaches of the sierra madre By: Douglas V. Meed. you can find it on amazon or at your local library.
Once i got to columbus I stopped at the poncho villa state park , i find it funny that New mexico has a park dedicated to the Guy who shot up the southern end of their state for years...go figure.
From Columbus I headed north toward Deming on HWY 11 and passed through that town then took the Hatch cut off(HWY 26) which will take you to interstate 25 north.
I continued north on the interstate to santa fe then from there got on HWY 68 heading toward Taos.
Taos is another town in the western USA that has a wonderful history but was over run by tourists and artist over the years and is now like tombstone arizona, a very obvious, over priced tourist town.
The Kit Carson Museum in Taos is worth the 5 buck entry fee, lots of cool stuff there. Upon my arrival in Taos I parked my blazer in the parking lot of a chinese restaurant then ambled over to the central plaza for a bite to eat and a cup of Joe.
My intent was to head to the Bull of the woods trail head at the Taos ski area and camp for the night. I had the Idea to hike to the top of Wheeler peak(13,161') the highest point in new mexico
I headed out of town toward Valdez and the Hondo river area en route to the Ski Basin, along the way I picked up a hitch hiker who went by the name of Linjon, he said he was a Ute from Utah and in New mexico to work for the summer - cool guy.
I dropped Linjon off at the ski area and drove off to park my car in the Shade of some aspen trees. Next I hit the woods and did a quick scout to see what was about.
Linjon came back to my camp later in the evening with an arm load of Budweiser beer so I helped him drink a few then hit the sack.
The next morning it was a cool 48F when i hit the Wheeler peak trail, it was fairly steep and I didnt see another person until closer to the top of the mountain.
I was surprised at how easy it was for me to ascend wheeler, I thought after being in the middle east at sea level for a year it would be difficult, but it was not so.
It was an uneventful hike to the top I did spy some Big horn sheep and a few antelope , I took a few pics at the top of wheeler then started to decend the trail i had taken up but then got the idea to bushwhack back - Big mistake!! hahaha, I hit some horrible rock slide areas, snow, very steep slopes and soon regretted the folly of my decision to bushwhack back.
It infact took me longer to decend then it did to get to the top!
Plus side - great scenery, no people, trash or noise, and plenty of snow melt for water. I had a good time on that hike and arrived safely back at my truck in due time.
I hopped in my truck then drove down to the hondo river and set up camp for the night.
The next morning I headed up HWY 64 toward Cimmeron and Raton, I knew Ted Turner had bought a bunch of Land near the Valle Vidal wilderness and put Buffalo in there , something like 3000 head. That is Way to many Buffalo for that area, but, what the heck if you got money you can do pretty much what you want.
My plan was to get some pics of them if possible, Not far up the road I spied a hugh Buffalo Bull standing about 50 meters from the road inside the fence.
I pulled over, whipped out my camera and walked up to the Gate - about that time the old Bull charged the gate and gave it a decent head butt! There was a loud bang, lots of dust and some snoting(by him) and Farting(by me) .
That kinda spooked me a little but I managed to get a picture or 2 of him.
In the distance I could see other Buffalo on both sides of the road, Hopping in my Blazer I headed up there to get some more pictures.
It was a beautiful sunny ,cool day and I really enjoyed being there and seeing those Buffalo. I was amazed at the amount of sound a sizable herd can make. Back in the days when Millions of these animals roaming the american west , it must have been defening to ride into a herd on a hunt.
And in addition, after seeing 1st hand the power and speed of the great beasts I can appreciate the Native american buffalo hunters and how they rode into a herd bareback, shooting them with a bow and arrows. That took Guts.
Anyhoo, it was getting late so I hopped into the Blazer and headed up the road looking for another adventure. Maybe, ill even head to my friends house in wagon mound, who knows??
tomahawk, scouts out!