Driving back to Albuquerque last night we kicked around the possibilities for the next day trip.
One involved a ghost town in the Jemez, but the mountains are full of elk hunters. Season won't end until the year ends. Having an elk hunter tell you he's been watching you through his scope sight all morning, wondering what you're doing isn't something to make a man want to go into the mountains when they're there.
Another possibility is that black mesa pictured in an entry a couple of months ago, scene of the Valverde battle. The guy with me located an artillery position on the mesa that might be worth some poking around with. But we'd have to get in there by catching the Rio Grande when it isn't flowing much and cross with chest waders, then brave whatever security measures Ted Turner has set up on the mesa. It's the sort of thing a person wants to ponder before deciding to do.
There's a petroglyph site we all want to see, or see again, depicting some Spaniards getting killed the hard way.... maybe during the retreat following the revolt of 1680... the person who did the glyphing was fairly excited about it and filled an area of cliff overhang 40-50 yards long. That site's in the desert east of the Rio Grande and Socorro. It's a for sure sometime, but for now, back burner.
The ambush site above is unanimous for next.
Mel and I found this place several years ago. We always intended to go back and try to learn more about it, but one thing led to another and we never did. Now that Mel's dead I'm the only one who knows about it, so there's no obligation for secrecy.
The picture's taken from beside an unmarked grave that's been there an awfully long while. There are three, maybe four carefully prepared firing positions surrounding the grave site, all similar to that one. Behind each firing position there's a low wall of rocks surrounding a hollow that could contain two or three shooters, evidently to keep the wind off during a long wait. It's a crossfire heaven.
Could be Canby's troops ambushing retreating Sibley Texans. Could be Texans ambushing US Regulars. Could be Apaches ambushing almost anyone. Could be a posse ambushing a non-posse, or fugitives ambushing a posse. Could be one of the several range wars in that area.
So next trip we're going to be looking for cartridge cases, projectiles, just about anything that will give a hint.