Tuesday evening and I’m back in the trailer after a great day of trying to find the west fork of the north branch of the Old Spanish Trail, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
Sunday morning promptly at 8 am I pulled out of the Denver area, headed for Tres Piedras, NM. The weather forecast was for afternoon rain and/or snow. I was hoping to get to Tres Piedras before any precipitation started…Not! I did make it south to Walsenburg, CO and across the only mountain pass I would have to negotiate (La Veta Pass) before the precipitation started and when it started, it started as snow! Not only was it snow but it was snowing pretty hard. Great, just what I needed!
I pulled into Alamosa, CO and decided that I had better fill up my water tanks before I got to Tres Piedras so I went to the Alamosa KOA and for $5.00 I took on about 90 gallons of water. As it turns out, this was a good decision because although there is a water spigot here, it is almost inaccessible. I also filled up with diesel at the Alamosa Safeway and with my frequent buyer discount saved over 20 cents a gallon from the cost at the other local stations.
From Alamosa I headed south on Hwy 285 for another 53 miles to the desolate town of Tres Piedras. This town truly is a “frontier” town. The only service in Tres Piedras is a US Post Office. There are no restaurants. There are no grocery stores. There are no stores of any description. To get groceries or gasoline you have to drive over 30 miles to Antonito, Co or to Taos, NM.
Of the 20 some people that are participating in this project only three of us are staying here at the historic Adolph Leopold Ranger House….the others prefer a bit more civilization. It’s quite scenic and because we start from here every morning I get to sleep a bit longer than those that are staying in Taos.
We have spent two days in the field metal detecting large areas of sage brush high plains and Ponderosa Pine covered hills searching for anything that would confirm that these areas were used between 1649 and 1850. No luck so far. We’ve turned up some artifacts related to logging around the turn of the 20th Century and we’ve seen numerous prehistoric lithic sites but very strangely nothing in between. Our general strategy is to detect along an east/west axis, perpendicular to the historical route of travel. If we can intersect evidence of the trail somewhere then we will try to follow it.
Even though we haven’t found anything of significance, I’m still having a great time. The weather has cleared and it’s warm although windy. The country is absolutely gorgeous and it’s one of those times I can feel that deep down inside smile in my body……More to come.
Thanks for visiting.