Monday, November 16, 2009

Ghost Canyon

Last week we went to a place in the Jemez Mountains where we hadn't been for about 10 years. It's a small canyon we have always called Ghost Canyon but it is called Cow Creek Canyon on the maps. This is the main meadow at a wide spot in the canyon. When we first came here in 1977 there was a log cabin to the side of the big tree. I have heard that the cabin was taken down and moved to an outdoor type museum somewhere in the state but don't know that far sure. If it wasn't it is a shame that someone else would take those logs for what ever use. There were at least six cabins in this area and it was used as summer dwellings for loggers back in the early 1900's. They loggers came in by train through the little village of Gillman then used wagons and old trucks to go farther back into the forest to do the logging. The logs were hauled out by wagons pulled by horses and loaded onto the same trains to go to Gillman or Bernalillo, NM to the saw mills.
The canyon is now mostly used by wildlife and some cows that are turned in each summer by a rancher. But there are several of us that know of the area and find it a perfect place for camping and picnicking.
Everytime I have been here I have felt like there were ghosts talking to me. Even on this day at one time I was sure I heard the faint whisper of voices on the wind. At first I thought it might be some one else that had ventured farther down the canyon and was coming back out but no one ever appeared and there is only the one way in and out.
The first time we came into the canyon in 1977 we actually were able to drive our car in. Later years there was a lot of rain and spring snow runoff that did a lot of damage to the road. In those years we had to use either the jeep or a truck to get in. Usually then and now 4-wheel-drive is necessary. During that time we took snowmobiles there in the winter time several times. Then for a while the road to the canyon was in such bad shape we had to go in using our ATV's. Due to bad fire seasons and high gas costs we didn't get to go there for about 10 years. Spur of the moment last week on a day trip to the mountains we decided to see if we could get in again. The road down to the canyon had been reworked by a road grader and was in a lot better shape. There were a couple of places in the canyon where it was sidling or had big ruts but wasn't to bad for our Chevy S10 truck with 4-wheel-drive. There was water with some ice in some of the ruts and no sign of tracks to say that anyone had been in for a long time. We didn't see any wildlife except a few birds but did see tracks of deer, elk, coyotes, and squirrels. We always comment on how quiet it is in Ghost Canyon compared to the natural noises that one can hear in other parts of the forest. Just another reason why it seems so ghostly there. To me they arn't ghost to be frightened of but ghosts that want to let me know how wonderful it was to be able to live in the canyon one hundred years ago.

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