Saturday, Sept 27 - Clayton, NM

Today’s efforts will be to locate and document three Battalion campsites and obtain photos of the route through the area. We move the RV trailer, unhook the Jed Clampett Memorial Port-a-potty Trailer and head off into the wilds. During the day we see at least one hundred antelope.

There won’t be any hiking in today as we expect to drive nearly 200 miles to find these locations. Now, normally, this wouldn’t take too long, but we’re on gravel backroads which we haven’t driven before and for which maps are … well, … not the most reliable. Much of my route planning was done with commercially available routing software and the names/numbers they use for these local roads don’t appear to coincide with the local numbering/naming.

For example; County Road A-005 (software name) isn’t on ANY signposts. Instead, the road is named Campbell Road, so there isn’t a one-to-one correspondence for these maps making navigation difficult. Plus, often there isn’t much difference between the county road and the rancher’s private roads. Some of these guys carried loaded rifles to discourage cattle rustling.

Stop number one is along the Alamos Creek where I take some photos of a stone corral (more about that next week) and the streambed which is also lush with grass and water. Everyone tells us this is highly unusual for September but we’re grateful. Highs are upper 80’s today.

Stop number two is a trail crossing and stop number three is the Battalion’s campsite for September 28.

We take lots of photos along the route and about sundown get to the last campsite we want to find. As we crest a ridge, below us is a broad valley about a mile wide. Here again, there’s enough water to support verdant green grasses and the area could easily hold a few thousand head of oxen, mules and cattle. A few ranches dot the valley and there’s a second, side valley that gives the area its modern name of “Extra Valley.” We wind down the hill into the area and find an area with rock corrals and other ruins.

On our way back to blacktop, we come through the old settlement of Farley New Mexico. Someone is restoring the old yellow and green painted train station and there is an old ranch house that’s being used for cattlemen. As the sun sets, we get a few final photos and we start homeward. We drive for about twenty miles without seeing a single residence light.

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