Larry & Lee Ann's Journey travel blog

The two Lee Ann's having a great day!

Wide open country :)

 

 

Wagon wheel marks on the rocks...

Stretching our legs...

The bandana helps keep the dirt from your nose & mouth...

Partial walls of a long ago time...

Cooke's Spring House, an important source of water in the area....

April 15, 1912 date carved inside...

The group has arrived at Ft Cummings site...

We're having a great time....

Info on site...

Ft Cummings Cemetery....

A little info if you are interested...

The area around Cooke's Peak...

Rugged, rocky terrain for travelers...

Can't imagine traveling out here, fearful of an Indian attack at any...

Time to head home...

A couple of the ranch's animals enjoying dinner...

Lovely sunset...


Today's post covers an all day ride that about 22 Hidden Valley Ranch residents took on various modes, mostly atv's & side by sides a couple of weeks back. I was fortunate to ride behind another Liane (Lee Ann) on today's outing & she proved to be a knowledgeable, fun tour guide as we made our way along a portion of the Butterfield Trail, through the Massacre Peak area & ultimately arriving at the remains of Ft. Cummings.

I learned that the Butterfield Trail was a 2975 mile route that ran from St. Louis, Missouri, and Memphis, Tennessee, across northern Texas to San Francisco, California. In early 1857 John Butterfield was awarded a contract by the US Post Office for an overland mail route to to California which would not exceed a time of 25 days and would run two times a week. John Butterfield was awarded the $600,000 contract to complete this route and given a little over a year to get it into operation.

By September 1858 more than 200 way stations and relay posts had been setup and all of the necessary staff had been hired. In the same month the first overland mail run was completed and operations had begun on the Butterfield trail. Passenger fare was $200 from St Louis to San Francisco (approximately $3000 in today's dollars). Eventually the Trans continental railroad and the over bearing logistical costs of operating such an extensive system of stations and personnel forced the Butterfield Overland out of operations. In the end the Butterfield Stage route operated from September 15, 1858, until March 1, 1861 and served to captivate the imagination of the American public.

Massacre Peak is located northwest of Deming, NM and was a prominent landmark along the Butterfield Trail. Though the peak is relatively small elevation wise (5667') it offers a nice little climb with some mandatory scrambling near the top to breach the cliff line that surrounds the summit plateau. The peak is named for the numerous deaths that occurred in this area during the operation of the Butterfield Trail, called the Battle of Cookes Canyon which was an engagement of the Apache Wars fought in the later part of August 1861, between settlers from Confederate Arizona, and Chiricahua Apaches.

Ft. Cummings, located in the vicinity of Massacre Peak, played a primary role in the Indian Wars. In 1882, the mining town of Cookes was established. The Butterfield Trail forms the boundary between the Cookes Peak and Massacre Peak units. Cookes Range is named after the Mormon Battalion commander who led troops through the area on the way to California during the war with Mexico. The cultural and historic component of Cookes Range is among the most significant in southwest New Mexico. A major petroglyph site in the southeast portion of the Cookes Peak unit contains Mogollon-style designs of crosses, abstracts, masks, lizards, plumed serpent, and birds. Another significant petroglyph site is found adjacent to Massacre Peak. And a smaller grouping is located right near Hidden Valley Ranch.

It was a beautiful day as we rode along the trail although the trail itself gets a bit bumpy & rocky in areas. Larry was riding in a ranger behind Liane & I & they saw our atv tip up on two wheels a couple of times. But Liane did a great job keeping us upright & moving right along with the rest of the group. We stopped for lunch about 3 hours into the ride & took a bit of time exploring Ft. Cummings before eventually turning back. I was tired & dusty when we arrived but at the ranch but a nice long, hot shower fixed all of that! Loved it :)



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