Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Box

Spring weather led us out in search of a legendary canyon this weekend. It is only twelve or so miles away, but all of this is off- pavement and a lot is through a river bed. Finally , you have to cross two ranches and I wasn't sure what "jurisdiction" the box itself was in. Turns out that you have to go through the ranch house yard of friends to enter the arroyo, so we asked and now know it is theirs, and have premission to go any time. The road is beyond bad even when it isn't soft sand, but the old truck is up to it. The Box is worth the visit and we'll be back for birds and bugs and herps when it is warmer, probably without dogs-- looks very snaky, and there was a coyote tail hung from a tree as a bobcat trap lure as well.

Legendary? The ill- fated Confederate band that invaded New Mexico during the Civil War lost a CANNON there when climbing out! As there is no pavement for twelve miles even today and there were probably dirt roads no closer than 40 miles then, and the box is 300 feet deep in its deepest part, that took some doing! (It was found by a ranch hand in the fifties.)

We saw redtails, Cooper's hawks, a roughleg doubtless on its way north, and a harrier. We also saw a desert bighorn on the rim, which had the bad manners to vanish before Libby could take its photo. I have known there is a little band in the badlands to the north, around Ladron peak, but this is the first time I have ever seen one. Some country around here, between permission and geology, is just damned hard to get into. But we'll be back!


Entering from upstream.

The sheep was on the highest point here for what seemed like a long time. Libby: "I wanted to look at it more than take its picture!"

Slanting beds of rock on the floor.

The Almaty Kids and me in the deepest part. There is a whole other vertical wall above this"top".

Coming to the bottom.

Expect more posts from this area!


Paul said...

Is this the same Box of rock climbing fame, between Socorro & Magdalena? I once buried my truck in Bianca Canyon over an Easter weekend, got a lift to town from the sons of a Mexican family who were camped nearby, the mom was royaly PO'd by the exit of her sons, she knew they'd be up to no good heading into town, had to cough up 10 bucks so they could buy some beer...the good ol' days.

Camera Trap Codger said...

What a great place. Nothing like a desert canyon for exploration and fun. The creek looks like a good place for spadefoot toads.

Steve Bodio said...

No Paul- this one is WAY off pavement, in the Salado just west of the Sevilleta border, about 6? miles west of where we were running the dogs and a bit north. (Lee's north boundary is the Sevilleta.) You have to go through a ranch yard and then drive down an arroyo bottom north for a mile or so. Not easy but worth it.

Chris, I think this will be a great place for herps. The northernmost boundary for the banded rock rattler is just south of here, but I bet they are in the mountain peak just to the north and I'll be looking. River bed? Greater earless, leopard lizard, black tailed rattler, two (?) spadefoots...

It strikes me how the lens on the point and shoot shrinks perspective. This is both deeper and much longer than the box on 60 Paul mentions.

Peculiar said...

Consider yourselves scheduled for a hike when we get down. I didn't know there were bighorns out that way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Libby & Steve

What a magical place ! - Reminds me of the canyon we walked up once (behind the Owl?)- it was very hot , and I remember the intense , deep shade in the narrow ravines !!


Peculiar said...

JohnnyUK, I remember that hike. It was out in the Quebradas, the badlands on the east side of the river. We drove back the long way and went to the Owl for some beers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peculiar

Yep!- and don't us forget The Owls famous chilli cheeseburgers.

Do so hope life is treating you both well!- it's the incomparably deep, clear blue NM sky that still gets me every time !


Olfrt said...

Wonderful place..Great history too. During the Indian Wars a Company of the 9th Cavalry, [buffalo soldiers], were trapped in a box canyon just above the box by an Apache raider named Nana. Scattered along the watercourse upstream from the box are Pueblo III sites, and about 8 miles northwest a posse shot it out with bank robbers. When I bring in the shotgun I will tell you about the graves ....Will

Steve Bodio said...

Heyy Will- I'll take you up on that. Especially want to see the Puebloan sites. Karolyn (Ligon) White knows where there is some rock art too.