Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale
Welcome back. It was ten years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock when Santa Fe, New Mexico was established and today it is one of the most historical places in the country. It is well documented and easy to see that American Indians, the Spanish and Anglos have all played a role in the city’s early and present day development. The history of this place along with sunsets from heaven, abundant wildlife and recreation in the mountains have drawn people here from around the world as both tourists and residents.
According to author John Sherman who lives in Santa Fe, the city was originally founded by the Spanish in 1610 and it was the northernmost outpost of the Spanish colonial frontier. Eventually the city became the capitol of Nuevo Mejico as the Spaniards called their colony. In 1846 Brigadier General Stephen Watts Kearny seized the city and the territory around it as property of the United States. President Taft signed a bill in 1912 that recognized New Mexico as the forty-seventh state.
I have been to Santa Fe many times. It is a place where artists find inspiration, tourists spend money, the food is wonderful and the locals are friendly. Santa Fe has been the setting for dozens of films, such as The Man from Laramie with Jimmy Stewart and it also the home to several major music and dance festivals. Osage Indian ballerina Maria Tallchief is just one of the famous performers who have appeared here. Many well known artists also bought homes in the area and there is a thriving community of singers, painters, actors and craftsman living in and around the city.
On the second leg of my travels, I will be visiting another of my favorite places in New Mexico. Dinosaurs once walked here and millions of years later the Navajo and other tribes hunted in these valleys. The early Spaniards were here also as well as rustlers and cutthroats. Inspired by the harsh beauty of the rugged and remote country, Arthur Pack built a ranch here in the early 1900s. He later sold a small parcel of his land to artist Georgia O’Keefe who was enthralled with the landscape and had begged him relentlessly for years to buy a piece of it.
Later, during World War II, the scientists working on the A bomb stayed at the ranch for respite from their intense research at nearby Los Alamos. Since then other famous guests at the ranch have included Charles Lindbergh, Ansell Adams and John Wayne. Once called “Rancho de Brujos” or “Ranch of the Witches”, it is rumored that the land is haunted by evil spirits. For the past fifty years, the ranch has been owned by the Presbyterian Church and it has become a nationally known education and retreat center. Still as remote as ever, the center offers over 200 classes and symposia every year. The place I’m talking about is called Ghost Ranch and after camping out there on the mesa for three days, I may just come back a different man.
I may need that mental adjustment as a visit to Taos will follow with its own artists’’ community and the oldest pueblo in America. After Taos, the next stop will be Angel Fire resort which has its own history. Nowadays Angel Fire is a top notch Alpine ski resort which also offers mountain biking and golf in the warmer weather. Throughout the year they host more fun events than I’ve got room to list including festivals and competitions.Its hard to believe that in 1966 cattle were grazing on what is now a premiere destination. From Angel Fire I will be having another run in with ghosts when I check out what is going on in the most haunted spot of them all, the St. James Hotel in Cimarron. Film crews, professional ghost hunters and radio crews have all reported some sort of out-of-body experiences at the hotel lately and I’ve decided to investigate. Cimarron is also home to the Philmont Boy Scout camp so there should be plenty of help on hand if I need protection from the bogeymen.
Till next week, I’ll see ya down the road………………….