Adventure Location: Cooke's Range Wilderness, Deming NM
Breakfast on Saturdays is in the club house for $3.50. Two eggs cooked your way, two sausages, hash browns, toast, juice and coffee is the menu. The fellows manning the kitchen have it down to a good rhythm and things flow very smoothly. Naturally there were some truthful stories told around the table for entertainment.
Then it was off to the Tourist Center to gather information for more adventures. Luck was with the Team and we made off with a lot of information including some about the Cooke’s Range Wilderness Area. Here is a link to the site on Fort Cummings.
When the Team got away from town about 9 am the dirt storms were already out in full force. The dirt storms of my experience were like weather fronts sweeping across the area. These are different. They are essentially small tornados scattered around the area densely and keep coming all day again and again. This next picture was taken just after the Team turned off the highway to head into the Wilderness Area. The winds are very high and have really been lambasting the folks and dwellings. The Castle is rocking so much that a cup can only be filled about halfway to prevent spilling the beverage. It was not a nice day to be out on the roads. In fact I-10 has intermittently been shut down both east and west of Deming during the day.
So the Team had some serious wind to deal with on the trip out to Fort Cummings. However trying the winds were, they could not spoil the adventure. In fact as this is written there are still well over seventy pictures to edit yet. The skies did not lend to enhancing the pictures but sometimes we take what we can get. So on with the adventure.
The Team was better prepared today than yesterday. We had some snacks for the OFM and extra water. The proper footwear was installed on his feet and we were ready for this short hour and a half jaunt over to Fort Cummings. WRONG AGAIN AS USUAL. It is getting to where that ought to be my lifestyle’s motto.
The same turn off highway 26 as yesterday was taken. Immediately after the second cattle guard you take a left. That is the correct road straight ahead in this picture. Yesterday the Team continued on the road to the right.
At this point it was still thought this would be a quick trip in and out. WAAU (see above caps). The first few hundred feet was easy going an about 20 mph could be made. The BLM markers were observed on my left. They coincided with the fence line belonging to Mr. Hyatt who owns several pieces of dirt inside the boundaries of the BLM land.
Very quickly my speed retreated to around dead idle to prevent tire damage from all the sharp pointed rocks making up the road surface. Then the road got a bit rougher. This is not a road for low clearance vehicles. Nothing close to 4x4 was needed at all. But some of the middle humps and scattered rocks could high center a normal car and some of the cute SUVs on the road.
For me the slow driving conditions were excellent. In fact this would be a great road to use Sightseer for your transportation. Going slowly lets you see all sorts of stuff hiding between the brush and cacti. Several places along the way would be excellent camping spots for the Castle. A Truck mounted camper would be ideal. Actually a fair sized motorhome could make it in and back out with careful driving and a spotter on the ground.
All around the Team was areas begging for us to explore on foot or bike. A topographical map and good compass would be needed to cut down on the going in circles that could happen. There is a pass somewhere hidden by the sandstorms called Massacre Pass. It was the end of many folks as victims of Native American attacks.
After a much longer time than originally thought it would take, the edge of the Fort Cummings area was reached. The whole valley in front of you is begging for your foot prints.
From this point many ruins could be seen and even some special surprises awaited the Team. This turned out to be a top notch area for historical wandering. There are some interpretive signs and a huge number of ruins scattered around. By the time we got to the entry sign it was noon. My snacks were eaten and we had not begun serious exploring yet. This would be a fantastic place to spend at least one night while exploring the fort area.
Keep in mind that there is a whole different town and other sites at the end of yesterday’s adventure road that has to be explored with vigor. As for now the rest of today’s skim the top adventure will have to wait for tomorrow’s blog entry and maybe more than that when the pictures all get edited. This Fort location did not get anywhere close to a proper exploration today. The Team will be back.
These kinds of surprise treats really make me glad that I saved money all my life to get on the road early. Adventures like today and yesterday really make it worthwhile to be out trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.