Aug 09

New Photos

The BH Productions crew is back from their recent trek in the New Mexcio desert. Narrowly escaping heat stroke and mountain lion encounters, they brought back with them the following memories (both good and bad):

Cynthia Meets Balancing Rock

Balancing Rocks near the Mimbres River.

In need of a rest.

Flat mesa above the balancing rocks. Cooke’s peak can be seen above my hat brim. (Like the moving mountain in Larry McMurtry’s book, “The Wandering Hill”, Cooke’s peak seems to be everywhere when hiking in Apacheria.) The wind blew up while we rested on this plateau making Jerry Eagan, the guide feel that the “spirits” were unhappy with my visit.

Fort Cummings cemetery in the shadow of Cooke’s peak. A terrible place!  The marker is the gravesite of four US soldiers of the California column killed in the vicinity by Apaches in 1866.

Get in the duck!
Fort Seldon near Las Cruces. Very, very hot! The park rangers at the tourist center are anti-Geronimo & favor instead the more esoteric Victorio and Nana. Of course they do. Geronimo was way too fierce and unwilling to conform to the noble savage stereotype. His credo might have been, “Kill them all, kill them all!” Finally, what did paratroopers scream when leaping into the void during WW II? Victorio? Nana? It was Geronimo they cried!

Aug 09

Film Diary 4

Day two in the Gila wilderness, near Silver City, New Mexico:

Yesterday we travelled to the site of old Fort Cummins in the shadow of Cook’s Peak on the old Butterfield Stage/mail route. This awful place is literally in the middle of nowhere. The cemetery is truly a lonely patch of weeds where soldiers and emigrants are buried. For years their bones were scattered all across the countryside but later emigrants were offended by the sight and so the army gathered and buried them together. Standing under the harsh sun I felt the glorious images from John Ford’s cavalry movies slip away as I considered the terrible plight of the soldiers at Fort Cummins. Mostly black “buffalo soldiers,” for them it was a life of boredom and discomfort. At night they placed their bed legs in containers of water to keep off the red ants and hung blankets over their heads as protection against centipedes, spiders etc. Unplanned death was never far away and the Apache regularly preyed on soldiers going for water or wood that meant going beyonbd the perimeter of the fort.

Encountering the past is often life enhancing, as standing before the mysteries of the pictographs of early man was.  But Fort Cummins is a place of death and maybe always was.

Aug 09

Film Diary 3

BH writes from Bear Mountain Lodge on the edge of the Black Mountain and Gila Wilderness:

Silver City, NM is just down the road and full of bikers and fierce cops. A prototype for Deadwood. In fact, the evil George Hearst made money mining here before turning his attention on Deadwood’s pickings.

Very hot here during the day; sometimes triple digits hot! First trek was through a “garden” of big head and balancing rocks near where Jerry Eagan encountered a mountain lion not long ago. A local dog accompanied our party; up hill we scrambled always keeping an eye open for ground dwelling varmints. We did climb high enough to view some great pictographs but the heat was terrible and Cynthia began to demonstrate several bad signs including lethargy, skaking, head-ache etc. Struggling back down we located a pool of cool water naturally contained in the rocks and shaded by trees. Life saver. This is how Apaches navigated this otherwise hostile environment and not surprisingly many of the battle sites and positions that can still be found are near water sources.