Friday, May 31, 2013

Fort Sumner, The Bosque Redondo and The Blue Hole

I am way behind on blog posts. We've had a slow internet connection lately and I get frustrated trying to download photos. It's windy here today so we're hunkered down with nothing better to do so I thought I'd post some photos we took two weeks ago while we were staying at Sumner Lake State Park near Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

Fort Sumner has two Billy the Kid museums and we visited both. The first one is where Billy the Kid was buried but they didn't have a very big collection of Billy the Kid stuff. There was a lot of cowboy and outlaw stuff, in general. I liked this cowboy code...
The photo above is a reproduction of the only known photograph of Billy the Kid and the photo below is his grave. It was behind a big cage because it has been stolen several times...
The second Billy the Kid museum was bigger and had some actual belongings from the Kid. It's a shame they don't combine the two. This next one was right in town and probably gets more visitors. They also had a strange mix of stuff in addition to the Billy the Kid memorabilia.

Outside the museum.
An old Barbie Doll display.
Dr Pepper!
Billy the Kid's Rifle

An old hearse.
If you ever find yourself in Fort Sumner, I would recommend visiting the first museum in town and then driving to the site of the old Fort outside of town to see Billy's grave and skip that museum unless you just really have a hankering to see two Billy the Kid museums. There was one thing in that museum that I thought was really cool. They had some old letters from Louis L'Amour about the time he spent in Fort Sumner before he was a writer. My Dad is a big Louis L'Amour fan so I thought he would really like those.

When we were outside of town at the site of the old fort we saw an unusual building and signs for the Bosque Redondo Memorial. It was closed that day so when we went back to the state park I looked it up on the internet to see what it was about. After reading about it, I knew we needed to get back there and see the place, so we drove back later when it was open.
The Bosque Redondo Memorial

The Bosque Redondo is a memorial to one of the saddest chapters in American history. It turns out that Fort Sumner was basically established to be an internment camp for the Navajo and Apache indians. They were forced to march hundreds of miles to Fort Sumner and were kept there for years enduring brutal conditions. They tried to establish a reservation there called the Bosque Redondo but it was a miserable failure and many Apache and Navajo died there. The Army finally realized it was a failure and let them go. 

Here are some pictures I took of the murals inside the museum. The last picture was an actual photograph taken at the Bosque Redondo. It was enlarged and covered the whole wall of the room where a film about these events was shown. It was a very moving experience and I was shocked that I had never heard of this.

We left Sumner Lake State Park and traveled to Santa Rosa. We stayed in a private park there and got caught up on laundry and grocery shopping and used their pool.  Santa Rosa is a Route 66 town and has some neat old Route 66 attractions. We didn't do much sightseeing while there but we did go out to see their biggest attraction: The Blue Hole. This is what Wikipedia says about the Blue Hole:

"The Blue Hole of Santa Rosa is a circular, bell shaped pool east of Santa Rosa, New Mexico that is one of the most popular dive destinations in the US for SCUBA diving and training. It is a clear blue body of water with a constant 64 °F (18 °C) temperature and constant inflow of 3000 gallons per minute. While the surface is only 80 feet (24 m) in diameter, it expands to a diameter of 130 feet (40 m) at the bottom."

We left Santa Rosa Tuesday and drove to Las Vegas, New Mexico. We're staying at Storrie Lake State Park. The drive here was beautiful. We're finally getting out of the high desert/plains and into the parts of New Mexico with mountains and mesas and buttes. It has been very, very windy so we haven't been out exploring much but the winds are supposed to die down today. Actually, as I was writing that I realized I couldn't hear the wind for the first time in days so I think I'm going to sign off now and take a walk down to the lake.

I hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. That was neat, i started to say "My Dad likes Louis Lamour" but duh!!!. I have long been disgusted and outraged at the way Native Americans or as I like to call them MY ancestors, were treated. The Trail of Tears even Carlisle and the Indian school all perpetrated great injustices in the name of the United States. I had not heard of Fort Sumner, but will be sure to look it up. The Blue whole is gorgeous, of course any water even a mud puddle makes me happy. But it is beautiful.Thanks for sharing and your vivid descriptions.

    1. Thanks for the nice comment. I really was surprised that I hadn't heard of this because I've read a lot of books on Native American history, visited several museums and spent a lot of time in Navajo country. I resisted the urge to write more about it because it was so interesting to me. The Bosque Redondo Memorial site has a lot of good information about what happened there and "The Long Walk" which was the Navajo equivalent of the trail of tears. Here is a link to their site if you want to read more about it...

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  3. I found you account of the memorial very interesting as well. I think you are camping in the same state park as fellow blogger "ME and My Dog".

    1. Thank you, Judy. Hmmm, I don't think I've ever read that blog. Honestly, I thought I had read them all-lol. I'll have to look that up and see if I see her here. It's real smokey here today from the Pecos fire so there aren't many people here. Thanks again.

  4. We too are suffering with the howling wind here in Southern Colorado. They say the wind will stop when the last snow melts, and that should be in the next week or so. We are ready for some calm!!

    The blue hole looks wonderful. Kind of reminds me of the pool at Balmorhea State Park in West Texas. That is also a popular place for scuba divers.


    1. Hi Mark,

      I hope that's true about the wind stopping when the snow melts. I'm tired of it but what's worse is the way it's spreading this wildfire. I feel so bad for the firefighters having to deal with the wind on top of the fire.

      Yes, the blue hole was great! It is amazing to come across something like that in these dry, desert climates. I love it.

      I hope you and Teri are enjoying Colorado.


  5. 64°??? Cross that off my swimming list - yikes!

    Thanks for the email, and the reminder of folks who are/have been in NM state parks. A cool think about the annual pass is that people tend to stick around the state longer, enjoying its charms. Maybe we'll run into each other!

    1. I love state parks. I wish every state had a deal like New Mexico's annual pass. I'm looking forward to exploring the southern part of the state this Fall. I'm sure we'll run into each other at some point. That would be fun!