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\r\n","cleanDescription":" ","publish_start_moment":"2014-03-10T13:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-18T03:21:11.952Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f95d","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f1ea","title":"From Dawn to Dust. Revelation and Revelry at Coronado","slug":"legacy-march-2014-85232","image_id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c9","publish_start":"2014-03-10T13:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58b4b2404c2774661570f2e8","58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed"],"tags_ids":["59090d47e1efff4c9916fa8b","59090d59e1efff4c9916fa9b"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"custom_photo_credit":"Geo. W. Thompson","custom_tagline":"Treasures from our Archives. \"Coronado Headquarters,\" by John L. Sinclair, From 'New Mexico Magazine,' March 1947.","created":"2014-03-10T13:05:27.000Z","legacy_id":"85232","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"from dawn to dust. revelation and revelry at coronado","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:31.661Z","active":true,"description_raw":"
For 50 years, John L. Sinclair (1902–1993) wrote fond, in-depth reports on various New Mexico locales for this magazine. Raised in England and Scotland and eventually disinherited by his aristocratic family there, Sinclair landed in Clovis, New Mexico, by train in 1923. He spent the next 60-plus years in the Land of Enchantment working as a cowboy, museum curator, and writer.
\r\n
\r\nRead more about him in the January 2013 New Mexico Magazine feature “At Home at the End of the World” (bit.ly/JohnSinclair).
\r\n\r\n

In the spring of 1944 I went to Kuaua—Coronado State Monument— as a custodian, and to write a novel. I found there an unfettered, solitary life, a home—and also the full force of wind and the uninvited company of millions of ants.

\r\n\r\n

The ruins of ancient Kuaua Pueblo lie two and a half miles northwest of Bernalillo, on the west bank of the Río Grande.

\r\n\r\n

Harsh and barren though the setting may be, no spot could be lovelier for the view of the mountain river, and the broad panorama of sagebrush flats, with mesas looming along the western and northern skyline. No ground could be more appropriate for the remains of the ancient dwellings and the eternal resting place, which, until three-and-a-half centuries ago, gave human life to the area.

\r\n\r\n

East, beyond the valley, tower the Sandía Mountains—sacred to the Indians as the home of Wind Old Woman, mother of the Twin War Gods—with the summit ten thousand feet above the level of the sea. From the north comes the river, skirting the mesas to the west and irrigating the fields of Algodones, San Felipe, and Ranchitos. Westward stretch plains of sand, and sagebrush as far as the eye can see. Southward flows the Río Grande, coursing its way to Albuquerque, El Paso, and the Gulf.

\r\n\r\n

Coronado Monument, though not as spectacular as the Frijoles ruins in Bandelier National Monument, is nevertheless one of the most important archaeological landmarks on the Río Grande. There, on September 7, 1540, Hernando de Alvarado, captain adjutant to the great explorer, general, and would-be conqueror Francisco Vásquez Coronado, gazed upon the adobe-walled Pueblo of Tiguex [Tiwa], and the transition from archaeology into history took place. There, too, was written by a foot soldier of the Coronado Expedition, one Pedro de Castañeda, the first narrative of life on the Río Grande.

\r\n\r\n

Kuaua at the time was one of 12 villages that made up the Tiguex Province: Towns of Tiwa-speaking Indians that ranged from the present-day Pueblo of Isleta to one long gone to ruin in the vicinity of the Spanish-American settlement of Algodones. Today, only two of the Tiguex towns remain inhabited—Isleta and Sandia. There is no proof that Kuaua was the village chosen by Coronado for his headquarters from 1540 to 1542 as recorded in the Castañeda narrative, but there is also no proof that it wasn’t.

\r\n\r\n

The town must have offered the Spaniards an impressive sight as they marched upon it from the west. There, beside the great river with the Sandías looming to the sky behind it, was a massive dwelling built around two main plazas containing over 1,200 rooms on the ground floor alone, and in all probability it was more than one story in height. Six kivas were essential for the complex and endless rituals to the gods. Kuaua could have housed a population of about 1,500 people. When the ruins were excavated during the latter part of the last decade, over 600 skeletons were taken from their graves, and many more yet remain in the sand of Mother Earth.

\r\n\r\n
\"CoronadoCOURTESY PALACE OF THE GOVERNORS PHOTO ARCHIVES (NMHM/DCA) HP_2007_20_467.
\r\n\r\n

In March 1935, the commissioner of public lands for the state of New Mexico set aside the site to become the Coronado State Monument—“to be preserved for the use and pleasure of the people of New Mexico.” Excavation of the ruins had already started under the direction of Dr. Edgar Lee Hewett, then director of the Museum of New Mexico—a project supervised by students from the anthropology department, NYA youths [National Youth Administration, a New Deal program], and WPA workers. They swarmed over ancient Tiguex to dig her from desert covering.

\r\n\r\n

I arrived at Kuaua accompanied by my household furniture, which included a typewriter and reams of paper as well as 500 books, a dog, and three cats. I found solitude with a capital S, a vandalized museum, a house pretty much in a state of shambles—and to my chagrin that someone of little integrity during the interval between custodians had absconded with the bathroom fixtures, the hot-water heater, and the kitchen stove.

\r\n\r\n

The place could not boast the convenience of electricity, but being close to the pipeline, it enjoyed a plentiful supply of natural gas. The projected novel could wait, for there was plastering, plumbing, carpentering, and general repair work to be done. My dog and cats made themselves at home without delay.

\r\n\r\n

The desert climate is fickle. There are days when the wind is still and the sun bathes the monument, and even in the dead of winter, certain days permit one to walk about coatless, so pleasant is the warmth. There are nights when the moonlight turns the whole landscape to silver, and the river is a dark ribbon, and the dark mountains seem to stand out before the eye more prominently than they do in the light of day; and the sagebrush flats lie in silver to melt into a dark blue sky, and all is quiet and serene.

\r\n\r\n

Then there are winter days when the sleety blast sweeps over the ruins to lift the dry sand from its ground and pelt anything that stands in its way—wind of sharp, bone-chilling cold. There are summer days when the temperature rises to the height that extracts perspiration from the system and dampens the shirt and brow. Kuaua is a place of constant and sudden change—change in weather and the wide view—but the two old faithfuls ever remain to make themselves prominent: the wind and the ants.

\r\n\r\n

The wind will fill your eyes, ears, and nostrils with the finest of dust; the ants will seek the hospitality of your kitchen and, if you are not careful, season with themselves the makings of your dinner.

\r\n\r\n

When the repair work was completed I had a comfortable home at Kuaua. The house was of adobe, built in a way to be congenial with the remains of the old Pueblo. The living room had a corner fireplace and the floors were of flagstone, the dark vigas of the ceiling contrasted with the whitewashed walls. My furniture was from Old Mexico, my rugs Navajo, wall and door hangings mellowed old blankets from Chimayó. I made the bookcases myself and the walls were decorated with things of the tinsmith’s craft, brightly colored corn, Indian watercolors, and painted gourds. Here and there stood kachinas and santos; pottery and basketry were handy to trip over.

\r\n\r\n

The house was set within a walled, flagstone patio. There, time flew at a rapid pace, while silver maple, roses, poplar, rose of Sharon, spirea, and all manner of perennials were planted. The soil had been churned with the excavations and was not fertile; so to right the sad condition, wagonloads of fertilizer were hauled from the ranch of a generous cow-owning neighbor four miles away. With sunshine, warmth, and constant irrigation, the plants lived and bloomed.

\r\n\r\n

Mornings would bring from nearby Santa Ana Pueblo the Indians who helped with maintenance work on the monument. They arrived in a wagon or on horseback and consisted of four generations—from great-grandmother down to the toddler of 18 months. Great-grandmother scaled the ladders to plaster the walls of the high museum building, and when the toddlers fell asleep, they were carried to the couch in my living room. There was never a dull moment.

\r\n\r\n

In spite of all the activity, many visitors to the ruins from nottoo- distant neoned and concreted Albuquerque would look about at the desolation and ask me, “Don’t you get lonesome out here?” Lonesome!

\r\n\r\n

With the view of the desert, mountain, and river ever before my eyes!

\r\n\r\n

With Indian neighbors to entertain, and ancient ruins to keep up!

\r\n\r\n

With papooses on my living room couch!

\r\n\r\n

And a novel to write!

\r\n\r\n

Most visitors to Coronado Monument are pretty fine folks; the remainder make me wonder why they go there at all. Some spent hours, even a full day, wandering through the ruins, climbing down into the kiva, examining everything in the museum, and asking sensible questions. Others would leave the sanctity of their Fords or Chevrolets for a brief moment, ask me if I was married, how much my salary, and if I didn’t find the lack of city conveniences nervewracking. Then they’d turn toward the old gas wagon and drive away disappointed.

\r\n\r\n

One woman from Texas had an “excellent idea” to present: after looking over the museum, she decided the building would make a splendid roadhouse if the Spanish Colonial hall were converted into a dance floor with a jukebox, the Tiguex archaeology room made a bar serving choice liquors, and the ethnological room a dining place specializing in fried chicken with shoestring potatoes.

\r\n\r\n

In my two years of custodianship, the most asinine question was put to me by a young man old enough to know better. “Why,” wondered he, “would the Indians want to build a town so far away from civilization?”

\r\n\r\n

Perhaps the most enthusiastic group to visit Coronado Monument were some fliers from Kirtland Field. They came out one Sunday afternoon and it was sundown before they finished exploring the ruins. Before they left, they asked if they couldn’t come out for a steak fry some night, and when I assented, they set a date. They came loaded with the steaks and other essentials, and the night they chose was the finest of the year—the night of the September full moon.

\r\n\r\n

With our minds more toward steak and not directed to the beauty of the night outside, we cooked the feast on the kitchen gas range. Upon finishing the meal, more guests arrived: a group of my Indian friends from Santa Ana, who often dropped in at any hour to talk or sing their tribal songs to the beat of the drums.

\r\n\r\n

The boys—one from California, another from Washington state, and a Brooklynite—were very much taken with the Indians. I left the gathering for the outside, piled some piñon wood on a heap where the view of the mountains and river were best, and set a fire. Then I collected the drums and called my guests outside.

\r\n\r\n

The night was gorgeous, the landscape silver in the moonlight, the sparks from the fire rising upward with the smoke, and the flames casting a glow on the adobe ruins. The drums throbbed and the Indian chant cut the silence—a deep silence with no other sound to penetrate it but the crackling of the fire. The boys were thrilled.

\r\n\r\n

“Nick,” I said to the Brooklynite, “there’s quite a contrast between this setting and Myrtle Avenue. Here’s a memory to carry home with you.”

\r\n\r\n

“I know,” he said, loyal to the native pavements, “there’s a contrast all right, but Myrtle Avenue has a charm of its own.”

\r\n\r\n

Hardly a day passed but the Indians would come by for a visit. They would tie their horses to the hitching rack or park their wagons by the patio gate. There was always coffee for them, and they knew that they were welcome. Some even defied their bred-in superstitions to come to the ruins after sunset.

\r\n\r\n

“I heard the drums last night. We could even hear them over at the village,” said one, when he came to work one morning.

\r\n\r\n

“It was the wind, Joe,” I told him. “No one beat the drums here last night.”

\r\n\r\n

“Oh, no,” he said, “the sound was not the wind. We heard the drums, all right, and we could hear the people sing. We often hear the Old People over here.”

\r\n\r\n

Yet, it was not so strange. Often, when moonlight covered the ruins, I let the imagination go back to the days, centuries ago, when Kuaua was peopled. Then I could almost hear the chant and the beat of drums, and imagine painted and plumed figures climbing out of the kivas—and voices and the tread of moccasined feet, and laughter as one child chased the other through the plaza. But it was a dream. There was nothing alive anymore to the great spread of adobe walls—but plenty of dead under them. Nothing quick but the wind and the ants.

\r\n\r\n

Those who make a profession of antiquity claim Kuaua thrived as a town from about 1300 to sometime between 1600 and 1680 A.D. During that span of centuries, the people farmed and hunted, fought off enemies, and staged elaborate ceremonies for their own particular gods—gods who were nobody else’s business. In answer to their prayers, the Sky Father let loose his rains to fall on Earth Mother, who conceived and bore crops. The people bred their babies and buried their dead. Then they abandoned the town.

\r\n\r\n

Why?

\r\n\r\n

Archaeologists ponder over that.

\r\n\r\n

It could have been a plague, fire, oppression from the Spanish or enemy Indian sources, drought, or maybe they just wanted to migrate and live somewhere else. Science can only guess at the cause of their leaving.

\r\n\r\n

At those times when I felt the dust in my eyes and looked with distaste on my invaded pound of butter, I could have offered this reason why they left:

\r\n\r\n

It might have been the wind and the ants. ✜

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For 50 years, John L. Sinclair (1902–1993) wrote fond, in-depth reports on various New Mexico locales for this magazine. Raised in England and Scotland and eventually disinherited by his aristocratic
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For 50 years, John L. Sinclair (1902–1993) wrote fond, in-depth reports on various New Mexico locales for this magazine. Raised in England and Scotland and eventually disinherited by his aristocratic
","description":"For 50 years, John L. Sinclair (1902–1993) wrote fond, in-depth reports on various New Mexico locales for this magazine. Raised in England and Scotland and eventually disinherited by his aristocratic family there, Sinclair landed in Clovis, New Mexico, by train in 1923. He spent the next 60-plus years in the Land of Enchantment working as a cowboy, museum curator, and writer. Read more about him in the January 2013 New Mexico Magazine feature “At Home at the End of the World” ( bit.ly/JohnSinclair ). In the spring of 1944 I went to Kuaua—Coronado State Monument— as a custodian, and to write a novel. I found there an unfettered, solitary life, a home—and also the full force of wind and the uninvited company of millions of ants. The ruins of ancient Kuaua Pueblo lie two and a half miles northwest of Bernalillo, on the west bank of the Río Grande. Harsh and barren though the setting may be, no spot could be lovelier for the view of the mountain river, and the broad panorama of sagebrush flats, with mesas looming along the western and northern skyline. No ground could be more appropriate for the remains of the ancient dwellings and the eternal resting place, which, until three-and-a-half centuries ago, gave human life to the area. East, beyond the valley, tower the Sandía Mountains—sacred to the Indians as the home of Wind Old Woman, mother of the Twin War Gods—with the summit ten thousand feet above the level of the sea. From the north comes the river, skirting the mesas to the west and irrigating the fields of Algodones, San Felipe, and Ranchitos. Westward stretch plains of sand, and sagebrush as far as the eye can see. Southward flows the Río Grande, coursing its way to Albuquerque, El Paso, and the Gulf. Coronado Monument, though not as spectacular as the Frijoles ruins in Bandelier National Monument, is nevertheless one of the most important archaeological landmarks on the Río Grande. There, on September 7, 1540, Hernando de Alvarado, captain adjutant to the great explorer, general, and would-be conqueror Francisco Vásquez Coronado, gazed upon the adobe-walled Pueblo of Tiguex [Tiwa], and the transition from archaeology into history took place. There, too, was written by a foot soldier of the Coronado Expedition, one Pedro de Castañeda, the first narrative of life on the Río Grande. Kuaua at the time was one of 12 villages that made up the Tiguex Province: Towns of Tiwa-speaking Indians that ranged from the present-day Pueblo of Isleta to one long gone to ruin in the vicinity of the Spanish-American settlement of Algodones. Today, only two of the Tiguex towns remain inhabited—Isleta and Sandia. There is no proof that Kuaua was the village chosen by Coronado for his headquarters from 1540 to 1542 as recorded in the Castañeda narrative, but there is also no proof that it wasn’t. The town must have offered the Spaniards an impressive sight as they marched upon it from the west. There, beside the great river with the Sandías looming to the sky behind it, was a massive dwelling built around two main plazas containing over 1,200 rooms on the ground floor alone, and in all probability it was more than one story in height. Six kivas were essential for the complex and endless rituals to the gods. Kuaua could have housed a population of about 1,500 people. When the ruins were excavated during the latter part of the last decade, over 600 skeletons were taken from their graves, and many more yet remain in the sand of Mother Earth. COURTESY PALACE OF THE GOVERNORS PHOTO ARCHIVES (NMHM/DCA) HP_2007_20_467. In March 1935, the commissioner of public lands for the state of New Mexico set aside the site to become the Coronado State Monument—“to be preserved for the use and pleasure of the people of New Mexico.” Excavation of the ruins had already started under the direction of Dr. Edgar Lee Hewett, then director of the Museum of New Mexico—a project supervised by students from the anthropology department, NYA youths [National Youth Administration, a New Deal program], and WPA workers. They swarmed over ancient Tiguex to dig her from desert covering. I arrived at Kuaua accompanied by my household furniture, which included a typewriter and reams of paper as well as 500 books, a dog, and three cats. I found solitude with a capital S, a vandalized museum, a house pretty much in a state of shambles—and to my chagrin that someone of little integrity during the interval between custodians had absconded with the bathroom fixtures, the hot-water heater, and the kitchen stove. The place could not boast the convenience of electricity, but being close to the pipeline, it enjoyed a plentiful supply of natural gas. The projected novel could wait, for there was plastering, plumbing, carpentering, and general repair work to be done. My dog and cats made themselves at home without delay. The desert climate is fickle. There are days when the wind is still and the sun bathes the monument, and even in the dead of winter, certain days permit one to walk about coatless, so pleasant is the warmth. There are nights when the moonlight turns the whole landscape to silver, and the river is a dark ribbon, and the dark mountains seem to stand out before the eye more prominently than they do in the light of day; and the sagebrush flats lie in silver to melt into a dark blue sky, and all is quiet and serene. Then there are winter days when the sleety blast sweeps over the ruins to lift the dry sand from its ground and pelt anything that stands in its way—wind of sharp, bone-chilling cold. There are summer days when the temperature rises to the height that extracts perspiration from the system and dampens the shirt and brow. Kuaua is a place of constant and sudden change—change in weather and the wide view—but the two old faithfuls ever remain to make themselves prominent: the wind and the ants. The wind will fill your eyes, ears, and nostrils with the finest of dust; the ants will seek the hospitality of your kitchen and, if you are not careful, season with themselves the makings of your dinner. When the repair work was completed I had a comfortable home at Kuaua. The house was of adobe, built in a way to be congenial with the remains of the old Pueblo. The living room had a corner fireplace and the floors were of flagstone, the dark vigas of the ceiling contrasted with the whitewashed walls. My furniture was from Old Mexico, my rugs Navajo, wall and door hangings mellowed old blankets from Chimayó. I made the bookcases myself and the walls were decorated with things of the tinsmith’s craft, brightly colored corn, Indian watercolors, and painted gourds. Here and there stood kachinas and santos; pottery and basketry were handy to trip over. The house was set within a walled, flagstone patio. There, time flew at a rapid pace, while silver maple, roses, poplar, rose of Sharon, spirea, and all manner of perennials were planted. The soil had been churned with the excavations and was not fertile; so to right the sad condition, wagonloads of fertilizer were hauled from the ranch of a generous cow-owning neighbor four miles away. With sunshine, warmth, and constant irrigation, the plants lived and bloomed. Mornings would bring from nearby Santa Ana Pueblo the Indians who helped with maintenance work on the monument. They arrived in a wagon or on horseback and consisted of four generations—from great-grandmother down to the toddler of 18 months. Great-grandmother scaled the ladders to plaster the walls of the high museum building, and when the toddlers fell asleep, they were carried to the couch in my living room. There was never a dull moment. In spite of all the activity, many visitors to the ruins from nottoo- distant neoned and concreted Albuquerque would look about at the desolation and ask me, “Don’t you get lonesome out here?” Lonesome! With the view of the desert, mountain, and river ever before my eyes! With Indian neighbors to entertain, and ancient ruins to keep up! With papooses on my living room couch! And a novel to write! Most visitors to Coronado Monument are pretty fine folks; the remainder make me wonder why they go there at all. Some spent hours, even a full day, wandering through the ruins, climbing down into the kiva, examining everything in the museum, and asking sensible questions. Others would leave the sanctity of their Fords or Chevrolets for a brief moment, ask me if I was married, how much my salary, and if I didn’t find the lack of city conveniences nervewracking. Then they’d turn toward the old gas wagon and drive away disappointed. One woman from Texas had an “excellent idea” to present: after looking over the museum, she decided the building would make a splendid roadhouse if the Spanish Colonial hall were converted into a dance floor with a jukebox, the Tiguex archaeology room made a bar serving choice liquors, and the ethnological room a dining place specializing in fried chicken with shoestring potatoes. In my two years of custodianship, the most asinine question was put to me by a young man old enough to know better. “Why,” wondered he, “would the Indians want to build a town so far away from civilization?” Perhaps the most enthusiastic group to visit Coronado Monument were some fliers from Kirtland Field. They came out one Sunday afternoon and it was sundown before they finished exploring the ruins. Before they left, they asked if they couldn’t come out for a steak fry some night, and when I assented, they set a date. They came loaded with the steaks and other essentials, and the night they chose was the finest of the year—the night of the September full moon. With our minds more toward steak and not directed to the beauty of the night outside, we cooked the feast on the kitchen gas range. Upon finishing the meal, more guests arrived: a group of my Indian friends from Santa Ana, who often dropped in at any hour to talk or sing their tribal songs to the beat of the drums. The boys—one from California, another from Washington state, and a Brooklynite—were very much taken with the Indians. I left the gathering for the outside, piled some piñon wood on a heap where the view of the mountains and river were best, and set a fire. Then I collected the drums and called my guests outside. The night was gorgeous, the landscape silver in the moonlight, the sparks from the fire rising upward with the smoke, and the flames casting a glow on the adobe ruins. The drums throbbed and the Indian chant cut the silence—a deep silence with no other sound to penetrate it but the crackling of the fire. The boys were thrilled. “Nick,” I said to the Brooklynite, “there’s quite a contrast between this setting and Myrtle Avenue. Here’s a memory to carry home with you.” “I know,” he said, loyal to the native pavements, “there’s a contrast all right, but Myrtle Avenue has a charm of its own.” Hardly a day passed but the Indians would come by for a visit. They would tie their horses to the hitching rack or park their wagons by the patio gate. There was always coffee for them, and they knew that they were welcome. Some even defied their bred-in superstitions to come to the ruins after sunset. “I heard the drums last night. We could even hear them over at the village,” said one, when he came to work one morning. “It was the wind, Joe,” I told him. “No one beat the drums here last night.” “Oh, no,” he said, “the sound was not the wind. We heard the drums, all right, and we could hear the people sing. We often hear the Old People over here.” Yet, it was not so strange. Often, when moonlight covered the ruins, I let the imagination go back to the days, centuries ago, when Kuaua was peopled. Then I could almost hear the chant and the beat of drums, and imagine painted and plumed figures climbing out of the kivas—and voices and the tread of moccasined feet, and laughter as one child chased the other through the plaza. But it was a dream. There was nothing alive anymore to the great spread of adobe walls—but plenty of dead under them. Nothing quick but the wind and the ants. Those who make a profession of antiquity claim Kuaua thrived as a town from about 1300 to sometime between 1600 and 1680 A.D. During that span of centuries, the people farmed and hunted, fought off enemies, and staged elaborate ceremonies for their own particular gods—gods who were nobody else’s business. In answer to their prayers, the Sky Father let loose his rains to fall on Earth Mother, who conceived and bore crops. The people bred their babies and buried their dead. Then they abandoned the town. Why? Archaeologists ponder over that. It could have been a plague, fire, oppression from the Spanish or enemy Indian sources, drought, or maybe they just wanted to migrate and live somewhere else. Science can only guess at the cause of their leaving. At those times when I felt the dust in my eyes and looked with distaste on my invaded pound of butter, I could have offered this reason why they left: It might have been the wind and the ants. ✜","id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f95d","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/legacy-march-2014-85232/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/legacy-march-2014-85232/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/legacy-march-2014-85232/","metaTitle":"From Dawn to Dust. Revelation and Revelry at Coronado","metaDescription":"
For 50 years, John L. Sinclair (1902–1993) wrote fond, in-depth reports on various New Mexico locales for this magazine. Raised in England and Scotland and eventually disinherited by his aristocratic
","cleanDescription":"For 50 years, John L. Sinclair (1902–1993) wrote fond, in-depth reports on various New Mexico locales for this magazine. Raised in England and Scotland and eventually disinherited by his aristocratic family there, Sinclair landed in Clovis, New Mexico, by train in 1923. He spent the next 60-plus years in the Land of Enchantment working as a cowboy, museum curator, and writer. Read more about him in the January 2013 New Mexico Magazine feature “At Home at the End of the World” ( bit.ly/JohnSinclair ). In the spring of 1944 I went to Kuaua—Coronado State Monument— as a custodian, and to write a novel. I found there an unfettered, solitary life, a home—and also the full force of wind and the uninvited company of millions of ants. The ruins of ancient Kuaua Pueblo lie two and a half miles northwest of Bernalillo, on the west bank of the Río Grande. Harsh and barren though the setting may be, no spot could be lovelier for the view of the mountain river, and the broad panorama of sagebrush flats, with mesas looming along the western and northern skyline. No ground could be more appropriate for the remains of the ancient dwellings and the eternal resting place, which, until three-and-a-half centuries ago, gave human life to the area. East, beyond the valley, tower the Sandía Mountains—sacred to the Indians as the home of Wind Old Woman, mother of the Twin War Gods—with the summit ten thousand feet above the level of the sea. From the north comes the river, skirting the mesas to the west and irrigating the fields of Algodones, San Felipe, and Ranchitos. Westward stretch plains of sand, and sagebrush as far as the eye can see. Southward flows the Río Grande, coursing its way to Albuquerque, El Paso, and the Gulf. Coronado Monument, though not as spectacular as the Frijoles ruins in Bandelier National Monument, is nevertheless one of the most important archaeological landmarks on the Río Grande. There, on September 7, 1540, Hernando de Alvarado, captain adjutant to the great explorer, general, and would-be conqueror Francisco Vásquez Coronado, gazed upon the adobe-walled Pueblo of Tiguex [Tiwa], and the transition from archaeology into history took place. There, too, was written by a foot soldier of the Coronado Expedition, one Pedro de Castañeda, the first narrative of life on the Río Grande. Kuaua at the time was one of 12 villages that made up the Tiguex Province: Towns of Tiwa-speaking Indians that ranged from the present-day Pueblo of Isleta to one long gone to ruin in the vicinity of the Spanish-American settlement of Algodones. Today, only two of the Tiguex towns remain inhabited—Isleta and Sandia. There is no proof that Kuaua was the village chosen by Coronado for his headquarters from 1540 to 1542 as recorded in the Castañeda narrative, but there is also no proof that it wasn’t. The town must have offered the Spaniards an impressive sight as they marched upon it from the west. There, beside the great river with the Sandías looming to the sky behind it, was a massive dwelling built around two main plazas containing over 1,200 rooms on the ground floor alone, and in all probability it was more than one story in height. Six kivas were essential for the complex and endless rituals to the gods. Kuaua could have housed a population of about 1,500 people. When the ruins were excavated during the latter part of the last decade, over 600 skeletons were taken from their graves, and many more yet remain in the sand of Mother Earth. COURTESY PALACE OF THE GOVERNORS PHOTO ARCHIVES (NMHM/DCA) HP_2007_20_467. In March 1935, the commissioner of public lands for the state of New Mexico set aside the site to become the Coronado State Monument—“to be preserved for the use and pleasure of the people of New Mexico.” Excavation of the ruins had already started under the direction of Dr. Edgar Lee Hewett, then director of the Museum of New Mexico—a project supervised by students from the anthropology department, NYA youths [National Youth Administration, a New Deal program], and WPA workers. They swarmed over ancient Tiguex to dig her from desert covering. I arrived at Kuaua accompanied by my household furniture, which included a typewriter and reams of paper as well as 500 books, a dog, and three cats. I found solitude with a capital S, a vandalized museum, a house pretty much in a state of shambles—and to my chagrin that someone of little integrity during the interval between custodians had absconded with the bathroom fixtures, the hot-water heater, and the kitchen stove. The place could not boast the convenience of electricity, but being close to the pipeline, it enjoyed a plentiful supply of natural gas. The projected novel could wait, for there was plastering, plumbing, carpentering, and general repair work to be done. My dog and cats made themselves at home without delay. The desert climate is fickle. There are days when the wind is still and the sun bathes the monument, and even in the dead of winter, certain days permit one to walk about coatless, so pleasant is the warmth. There are nights when the moonlight turns the whole landscape to silver, and the river is a dark ribbon, and the dark mountains seem to stand out before the eye more prominently than they do in the light of day; and the sagebrush flats lie in silver to melt into a dark blue sky, and all is quiet and serene. Then there are winter days when the sleety blast sweeps over the ruins to lift the dry sand from its ground and pelt anything that stands in its way—wind of sharp, bone-chilling cold. There are summer days when the temperature rises to the height that extracts perspiration from the system and dampens the shirt and brow. Kuaua is a place of constant and sudden change—change in weather and the wide view—but the two old faithfuls ever remain to make themselves prominent: the wind and the ants. The wind will fill your eyes, ears, and nostrils with the finest of dust; the ants will seek the hospitality of your kitchen and, if you are not careful, season with themselves the makings of your dinner. When the repair work was completed I had a comfortable home at Kuaua. The house was of adobe, built in a way to be congenial with the remains of the old Pueblo. The living room had a corner fireplace and the floors were of flagstone, the dark vigas of the ceiling contrasted with the whitewashed walls. My furniture was from Old Mexico, my rugs Navajo, wall and door hangings mellowed old blankets from Chimayó. I made the bookcases myself and the walls were decorated with things of the tinsmith’s craft, brightly colored corn, Indian watercolors, and painted gourds. Here and there stood kachinas and santos; pottery and basketry were handy to trip over. The house was set within a walled, flagstone patio. There, time flew at a rapid pace, while silver maple, roses, poplar, rose of Sharon, spirea, and all manner of perennials were planted. The soil had been churned with the excavations and was not fertile; so to right the sad condition, wagonloads of fertilizer were hauled from the ranch of a generous cow-owning neighbor four miles away. With sunshine, warmth, and constant irrigation, the plants lived and bloomed. Mornings would bring from nearby Santa Ana Pueblo the Indians who helped with maintenance work on the monument. They arrived in a wagon or on horseback and consisted of four generations—from great-grandmother down to the toddler of 18 months. Great-grandmother scaled the ladders to plaster the walls of the high museum building, and when the toddlers fell asleep, they were carried to the couch in my living room. There was never a dull moment. In spite of all the activity, many visitors to the ruins from nottoo- distant neoned and concreted Albuquerque would look about at the desolation and ask me, “Don’t you get lonesome out here?” Lonesome! With the view of the desert, mountain, and river ever before my eyes! With Indian neighbors to entertain, and ancient ruins to keep up! With papooses on my living room couch! And a novel to write! Most visitors to Coronado Monument are pretty fine folks; the remainder make me wonder why they go there at all. Some spent hours, even a full day, wandering through the ruins, climbing down into the kiva, examining everything in the museum, and asking sensible questions. Others would leave the sanctity of their Fords or Chevrolets for a brief moment, ask me if I was married, how much my salary, and if I didn’t find the lack of city conveniences nervewracking. Then they’d turn toward the old gas wagon and drive away disappointed. One woman from Texas had an “excellent idea” to present: after looking over the museum, she decided the building would make a splendid roadhouse if the Spanish Colonial hall were converted into a dance floor with a jukebox, the Tiguex archaeology room made a bar serving choice liquors, and the ethnological room a dining place specializing in fried chicken with shoestring potatoes. In my two years of custodianship, the most asinine question was put to me by a young man old enough to know better. “Why,” wondered he, “would the Indians want to build a town so far away from civilization?” Perhaps the most enthusiastic group to visit Coronado Monument were some fliers from Kirtland Field. They came out one Sunday afternoon and it was sundown before they finished exploring the ruins. Before they left, they asked if they couldn’t come out for a steak fry some night, and when I assented, they set a date. They came loaded with the steaks and other essentials, and the night they chose was the finest of the year—the night of the September full moon. With our minds more toward steak and not directed to the beauty of the night outside, we cooked the feast on the kitchen gas range. Upon finishing the meal, more guests arrived: a group of my Indian friends from Santa Ana, who often dropped in at any hour to talk or sing their tribal songs to the beat of the drums. The boys—one from California, another from Washington state, and a Brooklynite—were very much taken with the Indians. I left the gathering for the outside, piled some piñon wood on a heap where the view of the mountains and river were best, and set a fire. Then I collected the drums and called my guests outside. The night was gorgeous, the landscape silver in the moonlight, the sparks from the fire rising upward with the smoke, and the flames casting a glow on the adobe ruins. The drums throbbed and the Indian chant cut the silence—a deep silence with no other sound to penetrate it but the crackling of the fire. The boys were thrilled. “Nick,” I said to the Brooklynite, “there’s quite a contrast between this setting and Myrtle Avenue. Here’s a memory to carry home with you.” “I know,” he said, loyal to the native pavements, “there’s a contrast all right, but Myrtle Avenue has a charm of its own.” Hardly a day passed but the Indians would come by for a visit. They would tie their horses to the hitching rack or park their wagons by the patio gate. There was always coffee for them, and they knew that they were welcome. Some even defied their bred-in superstitions to come to the ruins after sunset. “I heard the drums last night. We could even hear them over at the village,” said one, when he came to work one morning. “It was the wind, Joe,” I told him. “No one beat the drums here last night.” “Oh, no,” he said, “the sound was not the wind. We heard the drums, all right, and we could hear the people sing. We often hear the Old People over here.” Yet, it was not so strange. Often, when moonlight covered the ruins, I let the imagination go back to the days, centuries ago, when Kuaua was peopled. Then I could almost hear the chant and the beat of drums, and imagine painted and plumed figures climbing out of the kivas—and voices and the tread of moccasined feet, and laughter as one child chased the other through the plaza. But it was a dream. There was nothing alive anymore to the great spread of adobe walls—but plenty of dead under them. Nothing quick but the wind and the ants. Those who make a profession of antiquity claim Kuaua thrived as a town from about 1300 to sometime between 1600 and 1680 A.D. During that span of centuries, the people farmed and hunted, fought off enemies, and staged elaborate ceremonies for their own particular gods—gods who were nobody else’s business. In answer to their prayers, the Sky Father let loose his rains to fall on Earth Mother, who conceived and bore crops. The people bred their babies and buried their dead. Then they abandoned the town. Why? Archaeologists ponder over that. It could have been a plague, fire, oppression from the Spanish or enemy Indian sources, drought, or maybe they just wanted to migrate and live somewhere else. Science can only guess at the cause of their leaving. At those times when I felt the dust in my eyes and looked with distaste on my invaded pound of butter, I could have offered this reason why they left: It might have been the wind and the ants. ✜","publish_start_moment":"2014-03-10T13:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-18T03:21:11.952Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f95c","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f249","title":"One of Our 50 is Missing","slug":"one-of-our-50-is-missing-85231","image_id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c8","publish_start":"2014-03-10T13:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed","58b4b2404c2774661570f30b","58b4b2404c2774661570f267"],"tags_ids":["59090d59e1efff4c9916fa9b","59090de2e1efff4c9916fafb","59090c10e1efff4c9916f95a"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"custom_tagline":"Rueful anecdotes about New Mexico's mistaken geographical identity, since 1970.","created":"2014-03-10T13:02:38.000Z","legacy_id":"85231","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"one of our 50 is missing","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:31.289Z","active":true,"description_raw":"
Send Us Your Story—Please!
\r\nDear “50” fans: Help sustain this popular feature by sharing your anecdotes—we know you have some choice ones that you haven’t gotten around to sending in. Just dash it off if you like, and we’ll take it from there. Submissions will be edited for style and space. Please include your name, hometown, and state. E-mail to fifty@nmmagazine.com, or mail to Fifty, New Mexico Magazine, 495 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501
\r\n\r\n

BREAKING SAD
\r\nLate last year, the website BuzzFeed asked its UK readers to try and label the states on the U.S. map. In their responses, New Mexico is misidentified as Arizona, South Utah, Albuquerque (with New Mexico in Louisiana’s spot), South Carolina, and “Walter White [of Breaking Bad] somewhere round here.” Another attempt also mixes up New Mexico and Arizona, with an arrow pointing to Arizona reading “Jesse Pinkman” (another leading Breaking Bad character). See them all at mynm.us/BritishUSA.

\r\n\r\n

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND
\r\nA December report in the Santa Fe New Mexican described the opportunities and obstacles inherent in a nascent garnet mine operation in Otero County. The story noted: “And then there is the reality that many customers are used to buying garnet from India, and may not have heard that New Mexico now has a domestic reserve. ‘All we have to do is convince a lot of people back East that New Mexico is in the United States,’ [a consultant] said.”

\r\n\r\n

YOU’VE BEEN PUZZLED
\r\nVicky Etchegoincelhay writes, “I’ve given up! To this day, my friend of 60 years will wish me well before every trip I make to my native New Mexico, warning me not to drink the water. I have explained it to her in a calm manner, and yes, also in anger. I gave her a wooden puzzle of the U.S., pointed to my home state, and declared, ‘It’s a state!’”

\r\n\r\n

SCHOOL DAZE
\r\nIn 1982, Kay Quarles’s daughter, of Belén, sent a letter of interest to the University of Texas at El Paso, asking about classes and her chances of finding a job there. UTEP admissions advisers sent her a letter stating that they would require her to take English as a second language, and that since she was from a foreign country, it would be next to impossible for her to find a job. “UTEP had faced the UNM Lobos on their own Texas campus a few days prior to the school’s written response. Maybe it was in retaliation for us beating the Miners,” Quarles said.

\r\n\r\n

UGANDA FOR THE WIN
\r\nIn 1985, Rick Jones was living in Nashville, Tennessee. In the apartment above him lived a Ugandan engineer. Next door to Jones lived a woman who had a master’s degree from Tennessee State University and worked on the campus. “I just found out that I had gotten a job and would be moving to Las Cruces,” Jones remembered. “One day I told my neighbors about getting the job, and that shortly I would be moving to New Mexico. The TSU grad said, ‘Oh, you’ll have to get a passport and a visa.’ Before I could say anything, the Ugandan engineer said, ‘New Mexico is part of the United States!’”

\r\n\r\n

LOST SALE, FOUND CLUE
\r\nWhile visiting her daughter one summer in Washington, D.C., Molly Houston went to a shoe sale at a major department store. She found some sandals she liked and bought a pair. She told the salesperson that she wanted to buy a second pair in a different color, but she didn’t have room for them in her suitcase. “He offered to mail them to me and asked where I live,” Houston said. “When I told him ‘New Mexico,’ he said he had never mailed any shoes to a foreign country before, and didn’t have any idea how much it would cost.” Before Houston could correct him, another salesperson who overheard the conversation proceeded to do the honors for her. “And did she ever!” Houston recalled. “She gave him a two-minute lecture, and I declined purchase of the second pair of sandals.”

\r\n\r\n

EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL (STATES)?
\r\nRight after New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously last December that same-sex marriage would be legal in the state, NPR.org ran an article about the breaking news. The photo that accompanied the article showed two same-sex couples; the caption identified the location as Mexico City.

","teaser_raw":"
Send Us Your Story—Please!
Dear “50” fans: Help sustain this popular feature by sharing your anecdotes—we know you have some choice ones that you haven’t gotten around to sending in. Just dash it off
","version_id":"59f8ebb3648901d6cd725dd3","author":{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f249","name":"The Staff","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.420Z","blog":"magazine","_name_sort":"the staff","updated":"2017-03-15T20:35:50.490Z","_totalPosts":77,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f249","title":"The Staff","slug":"the-staff","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/the-staff/58b4b2404c2774661570f249/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/the-staff/58b4b2404c2774661570f249/#comments","totalPosts":77},"categories":[{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed","blog":"magazine","title":"March 2014","_title_sort":"march 2014","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.568Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.575Z","_totalPosts":19,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed","slug":"march-2014","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed/#comments","totalPosts":19},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f30b","blog":"magazine","title":"One Of Our 50 Is Missing","_title_sort":"one of our 50 is missing","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.592Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.600Z","_totalPosts":68,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f30b","slug":"one-of-our-50-is-missing","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/one-of-our-50-is-missing/58b4b2404c2774661570f30b/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/one-of-our-50-is-missing/58b4b2404c2774661570f30b/#comments","totalPosts":68}],"image":{"_id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c8","legacy_id":"85237","title":"Main -fifty -missing","created":"2014-03-10T14:08:59.000Z","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:08.185Z","credits":"Henry Lopez","content_owner":"magazine","tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"title_sort":"main -fifty -missing","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_fifty_missing_237a90c3-ff12-4f03-85f2-0a166028126c","version":1488237128,"signature":"133848217eae99e22dcf9b8b135bebd8b8acf621","width":490,"height":312,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-02-27T23:12:08.000Z","bytes":39924,"type":"upload","etag":"285ce4ae8d8855d2e8b0b152b8146d70","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237128/clients/newmexico/main_fifty_missing_237a90c3-ff12-4f03-85f2-0a166028126c.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237128/clients/newmexico/main_fifty_missing_237a90c3-ff12-4f03-85f2-0a166028126c.jpg","original_filename":"main-fifty-missing"},"deleted":false,"id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c8","type":"image","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_fifty_missing_237a90c3-ff12-4f03-85f2-0a166028126c"}},"inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Main -fifty -missing"},"teaser":"
Send Us Your Story—Please!
Dear “50” fans: Help sustain this popular feature by sharing your anecdotes—we know you have some choice ones that you haven’t gotten around to sending in. Just dash it off
","description":"Send Us Your Story—Please! Dear “50” fans: Help sustain this popular feature by sharing your anecdotes—we know you have some choice ones that you haven’t gotten around to sending in. Just dash it off if you like, and we’ll take it from there. Submissions will be edited for style and space. Please include your name, hometown, and state. E-mail to fifty@nmmagazine.com , or mail to Fifty, New Mexico Magazine, 495 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501 BREAKING SAD Late last year, the website BuzzFeed asked its UK readers to try and label the states on the U.S. map. In their responses, New Mexico is misidentified as Arizona, South Utah, Albuquerque (with New Mexico in Louisiana’s spot), South Carolina, and “Walter White [of Breaking Bad ] somewhere round here.” Another attempt also mixes up New Mexico and Arizona, with an arrow pointing to Arizona reading “Jesse Pinkman” (another leading Breaking Bad character). See them all at mynm.us/BritishUSA. THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND A December report in the Santa Fe New Mexican described the opportunities and obstacles inherent in a nascent garnet mine operation in Otero County. The story noted: “And then there is the reality that many customers are used to buying garnet from India, and may not have heard that New Mexico now has a domestic reserve. ‘All we have to do is convince a lot of people back East that New Mexico is in the United States,’ [a consultant] said.” YOU’VE BEEN PUZZLED Vicky Etchegoincelhay writes, “I’ve given up! To this day, my friend of 60 years will wish me well before every trip I make to my native New Mexico, warning me not to drink the water. I have explained it to her in a calm manner, and yes, also in anger. I gave her a wooden puzzle of the U.S., pointed to my home state, and declared, ‘It’s a state!’” SCHOOL DAZE In 1982, Kay Quarles’s daughter, of Belén, sent a letter of interest to the University of Texas at El Paso, asking about classes and her chances of finding a job there. UTEP admissions advisers sent her a letter stating that they would require her to take English as a second language, and that since she was from a foreign country, it would be next to impossible for her to find a job. “UTEP had faced the UNM Lobos on their own Texas campus a few days prior to the school’s written response. Maybe it was in retaliation for us beating the Miners,” Quarles said. UGANDA FOR THE WIN In 1985, Rick Jones was living in Nashville, Tennessee. In the apartment above him lived a Ugandan engineer. Next door to Jones lived a woman who had a master’s degree from Tennessee State University and worked on the campus. “I just found out that I had gotten a job and would be moving to Las Cruces,” Jones remembered. “One day I told my neighbors about getting the job, and that shortly I would be moving to New Mexico. The TSU grad said, ‘Oh, you’ll have to get a passport and a visa.’ Before I could say anything, the Ugandan engineer said, ‘New Mexico is part of the United States!’” LOST SALE, FOUND CLUE While visiting her daughter one summer in Washington, D.C., Molly Houston went to a shoe sale at a major department store. She found some sandals she liked and bought a pair. She told the salesperson that she wanted to buy a second pair in a different color, but she didn’t have room for them in her suitcase. “He offered to mail them to me and asked where I live,” Houston said. “When I told him ‘New Mexico,’ he said he had never mailed any shoes to a foreign country before, and didn’t have any idea how much it would cost.” Before Houston could correct him, another salesperson who overheard the conversation proceeded to do the honors for her. “And did she ever!” Houston recalled. “She gave him a two-minute lecture, and I declined purchase of the second pair of sandals.” EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL (STATES)? Right after New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously last December that same-sex marriage would be legal in the state, NPR.org ran an article about the breaking news. The photo that accompanied the article showed two same-sex couples; the caption identified the location as Mexico City.","id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f95c","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/one-of-our-50-is-missing-85231/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/one-of-our-50-is-missing-85231/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/one-of-our-50-is-missing-85231/","metaTitle":"One of Our 50 is Missing","metaDescription":"
Send Us Your Story—Please!
Dear “50” fans: Help sustain this popular feature by sharing your anecdotes—we know you have some choice ones that you haven’t gotten around to sending in. Just dash it off
","cleanDescription":"Send Us Your Story—Please! Dear “50” fans: Help sustain this popular feature by sharing your anecdotes—we know you have some choice ones that you haven’t gotten around to sending in. Just dash it off if you like, and we’ll take it from there. Submissions will be edited for style and space. Please include your name, hometown, and state. E-mail to fifty@nmmagazine.com , or mail to Fifty, New Mexico Magazine, 495 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501 BREAKING SAD Late last year, the website BuzzFeed asked its UK readers to try and label the states on the U.S. map. In their responses, New Mexico is misidentified as Arizona, South Utah, Albuquerque (with New Mexico in Louisiana’s spot), South Carolina, and “Walter White [of Breaking Bad ] somewhere round here.” Another attempt also mixes up New Mexico and Arizona, with an arrow pointing to Arizona reading “Jesse Pinkman” (another leading Breaking Bad character). See them all at mynm.us/BritishUSA. THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND A December report in the Santa Fe New Mexican described the opportunities and obstacles inherent in a nascent garnet mine operation in Otero County. The story noted: “And then there is the reality that many customers are used to buying garnet from India, and may not have heard that New Mexico now has a domestic reserve. ‘All we have to do is convince a lot of people back East that New Mexico is in the United States,’ [a consultant] said.” YOU’VE BEEN PUZZLED Vicky Etchegoincelhay writes, “I’ve given up! To this day, my friend of 60 years will wish me well before every trip I make to my native New Mexico, warning me not to drink the water. I have explained it to her in a calm manner, and yes, also in anger. I gave her a wooden puzzle of the U.S., pointed to my home state, and declared, ‘It’s a state!’” SCHOOL DAZE In 1982, Kay Quarles’s daughter, of Belén, sent a letter of interest to the University of Texas at El Paso, asking about classes and her chances of finding a job there. UTEP admissions advisers sent her a letter stating that they would require her to take English as a second language, and that since she was from a foreign country, it would be next to impossible for her to find a job. “UTEP had faced the UNM Lobos on their own Texas campus a few days prior to the school’s written response. Maybe it was in retaliation for us beating the Miners,” Quarles said. UGANDA FOR THE WIN In 1985, Rick Jones was living in Nashville, Tennessee. In the apartment above him lived a Ugandan engineer. Next door to Jones lived a woman who had a master’s degree from Tennessee State University and worked on the campus. “I just found out that I had gotten a job and would be moving to Las Cruces,” Jones remembered. “One day I told my neighbors about getting the job, and that shortly I would be moving to New Mexico. The TSU grad said, ‘Oh, you’ll have to get a passport and a visa.’ Before I could say anything, the Ugandan engineer said, ‘New Mexico is part of the United States!’” LOST SALE, FOUND CLUE While visiting her daughter one summer in Washington, D.C., Molly Houston went to a shoe sale at a major department store. She found some sandals she liked and bought a pair. She told the salesperson that she wanted to buy a second pair in a different color, but she didn’t have room for them in her suitcase. “He offered to mail them to me and asked where I live,” Houston said. “When I told him ‘New Mexico,’ he said he had never mailed any shoes to a foreign country before, and didn’t have any idea how much it would cost.” Before Houston could correct him, another salesperson who overheard the conversation proceeded to do the honors for her. “And did she ever!” Houston recalled. “She gave him a two-minute lecture, and I declined purchase of the second pair of sandals.” EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL (STATES)? Right after New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously last December that same-sex marriage would be legal in the state, NPR.org ran an article about the breaking news. The photo that accompanied the article showed two same-sex couples; the caption identified the location as Mexico City.","publish_start_moment":"2014-03-10T13:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-18T03:21:11.953Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f95b","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f20a","title":"The Land of the Giants","slug":"the-land-of-the-giants-85194","image_id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c5","publish_start":"2014-03-04T16:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","58b4b2404c2774661570f2a3","58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed"],"tags_ids":["59090e46e1efff4c9916fb37","59090cb1e1efff4c9916fa25","59090d59e1efff4c9916fa9b"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"custom_photo_credit":"ILLUSTRATIONS BY STEPHEN BOHANNON","custom_tagline":"Dino tracking and fossil hunting in New Mexico’s world-class prehistoric sites.","created":"2014-03-04T16:47:27.000Z","legacy_id":"85194","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"the land of the giants","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:31.823Z","active":true,"description_raw":"
NEED TO KNOW
\r\nClayton Lake State Park, Clayton; $5 per vehicle. Services and facilities are available at the visitor center within the park. (575) 374-8808; mynm.us/cclaytonlake
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\r\nBisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, 30 miles south of Farmington; free. There are no facilities or services available. (505) 564-7600; mynm.us/bisti
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\r\nNew Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. $7, seniors 60 and older $6, ages 3–12 $4. (505) 841-2800; nmnaturalhistory.org
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\r\nMESOZOIC JACKPOT
\r\nOpened in May 2000, Mesalands Community College’s Dinosaur Museum and Natural Science Laboratory, in Tucumcari, covers the entire Mesozoic era, which includes the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. “We have our glasswalled paleontology research labs and classrooms right here in the 10,000-squarefoot museum,” said Gretchen Gurtler, the museum’s director. “Visitors can watch research and cataloguing taking place while they walk through the museum.”
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\r\nA big attraction for the Mesalands facility is the world’s largest collection of life-size bronze replicas of dinosaur bones and fossils, which are created at the college’s on-site foundry, using molds made with objects discovered during fieldwork. (The annual casting takes place March 9–14, a spectacle that’s open to the public.) The museum was the first in the world to display a torvosaurus skeleton, a carnivore from the Late Jurassic period.
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\r\n“We have real bones and resin replicas,” Gurtler added, “and many of our exhibitions are touchable. We also have a special kids’ area where we bury dinosaur- and fossilrelated items and let the children have an excavation adventure of their own.” (575) 461-3466; mynm.us/mesamuseum
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\r\nLEGAL MATTERS
\r\nIn BLM national monuments, designated wilderness areas, and wilderness study areas, fossil collecting without a permit is prohibited; violators may incur fines or imprisonment. Vertebrate fossil discoveries should always be reported to the BLM or a museum, because of their rarity and scientific significance.
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\r\nCollecting invertebrate and plant fossils for noncommercial use is allowed on non-wilderness and non-monument BLM lands. Fossil collecting on private land must be done with the permission of the landowner.
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Tromping up a dry arroyo flanked by scrubby creosote bushes and tumbled blocks of red mudstone, eight-yearold Dominic made his first discovery of the day. “Look at this, I found a fossil!” he shouted, and bounded across a limestone flat with a palm-size chunk of rock in his hand. Evidence of two brachiopods— shelled sea creatures similar in size and shape to clams—sat frozen in time and solid rock. Brachiopods still exist today, but these were likely from the Permian period—the youngest period in the Paleozoic era, roughly 299 to 251 million years ago.

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My son and I were exploring the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, about six miles northwest of Las Cruces in the Robledo Mountains, and were starting to understand why our state is a top global destination for prehistoric discovery. Early life thrived here for hundreds of millions of years. At separate times in history, the landscape of what we now call New Mexico has included shallow tropical seas, lush tropical forests, and river floodplains—and, of course, their inhabitants. Evidence of this life lingers today: continental shifts, faults, rifts, and erosion have exposed the state’s rock formations, which contain fossil treasures for scientists—and even amateur explorers like Dominic—to find.

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“Acre per acre, New Mexico is as good as any place on earth for collecting fossils,” said Spencer Lucas, curator of paleontology and geology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque. “We can learn so much about the history of life from the fossils of New Mexico.”

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The state’s vast rocky landscapes offer the opportunity for year-round discoveries, and easy access to monuments and museums makes spotting fossils a fascinating adventure through time.

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The Permian Period
\r\n299 to 251 million years ago

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The Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, which spans 5,200 acres along the western edge of the Río Grande Valley in Doña Ana County, is a great place to start the adventure. Congress created the monument in 2009 because the park is deemed the most scientifically significant tracksite (fossilized trails and burrows of ancient insects, fish, and animals) in the world.

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The person largely responsible for the creation of the monument is Las Cruces resident and self-taught citizen scientist/ amateur paleontologist Jerry MacDonald. In 1987, MacDonald was hiking alone when he encountered the now famous Permian tracksites—known as the Discovery Site—where he excavated 2,500 slabs of trackways. The slabs now make up the Jerry MacDonald Paleozoic Trackways Collection at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque.

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“This tracksite is the key to [interpreting] all the other Permian sites found around the world,” explained Michael Downs, former interpretive park ranger with the Bureau of Land Management in Las Cruces, during our guided hike to the site. During the Permian period, what is now New Mexico was in the western equatorial tropics of the supercontinent Pangaea, a large landmass that consisted of all the present continents. A shallow tropical ocean—the Hueco Seaway—covered southern New Mexico and was home to marine life such as arthropods, crustaceans, amphibians, and reptiles, including the 13-foot-long dimetrodon, an iguana-like creature distinguished by a large sail on its back. Dimetrodon footprints have been found intact, as have whole-body imprints of primitive jumping insects, swimming trails of ancient fish, and corkscrew burrows of wormlike creatures that drilled into the shoreline.

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Although the monument does not yet have facilities, rangers lead Saturday morning hikes throughout the park. Dominic and I joined a group of about 20 other visitors. We walked to a spot where parts of a tracksite have been extracted, thus exposing red stone that contains a fossilized dimetrodon track and imprints of ancient conifer tree needles. Nearby, limestone held evidence of ancient sea life: brachiopods, sea lilies, and sea fans.

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Dominic’s first brachiopod discovery had to be left behind, because it was found within the monument boundaries, but he ended our journey with about 30 fossilized brachiopods from the sandstone quarry just outside the monument. He now has them displayed on the dresser and bookshelves in his room, vivid mementos of his adventure.

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Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, Las Cruces; free. Some areas, such as the Discovery Site, are not accessible by groomed trails. There are no facilities or marker signs at the monument. (575) 525-4300; mynm.us/trackways

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The Triassic Period
\r\n251 to 201 million years ago

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Making our way through time and history, our next stop was the Triassic period—the age of dinosaurs. Traveling U.S. Highway 84 north of Abiquiú, the striking sandstone cliffs and spires jutted out of the basin in bands of rust, white, and gold. Fossil collection has been recorded here since the 1880s, and new discoveries continue to be made, especially at Ghost Ranch, the onetime home of Georgia O’Keeffe that’s now an education and retreat center owned by the Presbyterian Church.

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“We have arguably some of the best Triassic land vertebrate sites in North America,” said Alex Downs, Ghost Ranch curator of paleontology. The ranch offers weeklong paleontology programs for adults and children during the summer and fall. In 1947, the ranch became world famous when a bed of complete coelophysis skeletons—hundreds of them at all stages of development—was discovered by Edwin H. Colbert, then of the American Museum of Natural History. Pronounced see-low- FY-sis, the dinosaur’s name is Latin for “hollow form,” referring to the predator’s hollow bones, which facilitated its agility and speed. Specimens have since been found only in New Mexico, and in March 1981 the species became the official state fossil. At nearly 10 feet long, coelophysis was considered a small dinosaur. The carnivorous creature ran on two hind legs and hunted insects, small mammals, and reptiles with clawed hands and more than 100 sharp teeth.

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Although Ghost Ranch is perhaps most famous for the coelophysis, other dinosaur remains have been found in the area. In 2004, a group of paleontology students spotted fossilized bone protruding from a hillside. Those fragments led to an excavation at what is now called Hayden Quarry, and in 2009 scientists officially introduced to the world the previously unknown Tawa hallae. (Tawa stems from the Hopi word for the Puebloan sun god; hallae is for Ruth Hall, the amateur paleontologist wife of Ghost Ranch’s first resident director, for which the on-premises Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology is named.) A cluster of Tawa skeletons were found in soft rock, which meant their bones were well preserved (and not crushed like the remains of many hollow bones). “We essentially have each bone in three dimensions,” said paleontologist Sterling Nesbitt, who worked at Ghost Ranch for four years. “It gives us new information about the origin and early evolution of dinosaurs.”

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The carnivorous beast, which walked on two legs and had protofeathers, lived 215 million years ago and essentially fills the gap between previously discovered fossils. “This bone bed is very, very important, because not only does it preserve the earliest dinosaurs, but it preserves a variety of details that are unprecedented in the Late Triassic,” Nesbitt continued. “Not only do we have animals, but we have wood and plants and all kinds of other things in this quarry that help us reconstruct what the Late Triassic was like in North America about 215 million years ago.”

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Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology, Ghost Ranch, Abiquiú. Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m. Donations accepted. Guided paleontology tours: Thurs.10–11:30a.m., Apr. 4–Oct. 31; $25, students and kids 5–17 $12.50. (505) 685-4333 ext. 4118; ghostranch.org

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The Jurassic Period
\r\n201 to 146 million years ago

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When Pangaea broke apart, New Mexico’s hot and humid river floodplains filled with dense conifer forests, home to sauropods—long-necked, long-tailed herbivores with voluminous rib cages and pillar-like legs. Evidence of such creatures exists in central New Mexico, at the BLM’s Ojito Wilderness Study Area, near San Ysidro, where primitive trails wander through rough and rugged badlands, bluffs, and hoodoos.

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In 1979, two Albuquerqueans stumbled across several half-buried backbones— each about a foot long—during a hike in Ojito. Eventually the find was reported to David Gillette, then a curator of paleontology for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. “The bones lay partially exposed on a sandstone ledge ten feet below the top of a small mesa,” Gillette wrote in his 1994 book Seismosaurus: The Earth Shaker. “Mute and nameless, the bones lay only a hundred feet away from several panels of vivid rock carvings, perhaps a thousand years old. These figures of snakes and turtles and strange gangly men, chipped into the red, iron-stained rind of the sandstone, had brought us together.”

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Gillette nicknamed the creature “Sam,” but officially called the estimated 110-foot-long beast Seismosaurus hallorum— the earth-shaking dinosaur. Ironically, seismic tomography technology, which creates 3-D images of the internal structures of solid objects, would later be used to look for more of Sam’s bones hidden deep in the ground.

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“Sam’s existence as one of many sauropods in the Jurassic may have been minor and relatively insignificant in the ecology of the time,” Gillette wrote, “but the fossil remains of Sam are scientific treasures. What more may lay hidden in the sandstones of the Ojito?”

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Ojito Wilderness, Bernalillo; free. The closest facilities and services are in San Ysidro, 10 miles from the wilderness area. (505) 761-8700; mynm.us/ojitowild

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The Cretaceous Period
\r\n146 to 65 million years ago

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By the Cretaceous period, the North American continent as we now know it was almost defined, but high sea levels flooded vast areas in the middle of the continent. Parts of New Mexico were a tropical seacoast, where the final wave of dinosaurs walked the shores. Along the spillway of Clayton Lake, in what’s now northeast New Mexico, approximately 800 tracks record the paths of giant herbivores and their sharp-clawed predators of 100 million years ago.

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The most common tracks are three-toed impressions of “duck-billed,” plant-eating dinosaurs. The largest track—probably a hind foot—measures nearly 12 inches from the tip of the middle toe to the rear. Clayton Lake also features what are likely theropod (think T. rex) tracks, which are also three-toed but are smaller and more kite-shaped than the other tracks.

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Clayton Lake contains many parallel trackways that all run north. They are essentially adjacent tracksites made by different dinosaurs. This shows that dinosaurs traveled together in groups, probably along a migration route that stretched hundreds of miles north to south along what was then the Western Interior Seaway.

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“This is considered one of the top trackways in the world,” said Charles Jordan, Clayton Lake State Park manager. “What you’ll see that is very unique is tail drags— where the dinosaurs dragged their tails behind them. These are extremely rare. We have several distinct tail drags, more than anywhere in the world.”

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Best viewed with the help of shadows created by the morning and late-afternoon sun, the trackway is flanked by a trail that allows people to reach down and touch the tracks, and read the interpretive markers along the way.

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Although no dinosaur bones have been found at Clayton Lake, an abundance of fossils was discovered just 350 miles to the west at the BLM’s Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. A badlands moonscape of stark, sculpted-rock hoodoos 30 miles south of Farmington in the San Juan Basin, the area offers the world’s best fossil record of Late Cretaceous plants and animals, Lucas said. “I never met a fossil I didn’t like, but in New Mexico the fossil beds of the San Juan Basin are my favorite. Around the world, the San Juan Basin is famous for the time of history it records and its fossils.”

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These fossils belong to creatures that inhabited the area during the Late Cretaceous period (80 to 65 million years ago). What’s now a desert was then a vegetation-filled coastal swamp. Today the sediment contains remnants of fish, turtles, lizards, mammals, and dinosaurs, such as the 30-foot-long, duck-billed parasaurolophus or the five-horned, plant-eating pentaceratops. Most famous of all is the Bisti Beast, aka Bistahieversor sealeyi, a member of the carnivorous tyrannosaur family. A volunteer researcher discovered part of the skull in 1997, and in 1998 the dinosaur was excavated—its removal was the first paleontological excavation in a federal wilderness area.

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Today the skull of the Bisti Beast, whose body was probably about 30 feet long and weighed three tons, is part of the Cretaceous seacoast exhibit at the Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque. But Sherrie Landon, paleontology coordinator at the BLM Farmington Field Office, assures visitors to the badlands that there’s still plenty to discover in the 41,170-acre wilderness area.

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“You can start at the bottom of a canyon and see in the rock when the dinosaurs lived, and moving up through the layers you can see where they were wiped out,” she said. “The boundary is recorded globally, but it doesn’t get exposed in very many places. We have more than a mile of it.” ✜

","teaser_raw":"
NEED TO KNOW
Clayton Lake State Park, Clayton; $5 per vehicle. Services and facilities are available at the visitor center within the park. (575) 374-8808; mynm.us/cclaytonlake

Bisti/De-Na-Zin
","version_id":"59f8ebb3648901d6cd725e45","author":{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f20a","name":"Melissa W. Sais","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.352Z","blog":"magazine","_name_sort":"melissa w. sais","updated":"2017-03-15T20:18:10.142Z","_totalPosts":1,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f20a","title":"Melissa W. Sais","slug":"melissa-w-sais","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/melissa-w-sais/58b4b2404c2774661570f20a/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/melissa-w-sais/58b4b2404c2774661570f20a/#comments","totalPosts":1},"categories":[{"_id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","title":"Travel","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"travel","updated":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.155Z","created":"2017-03-14T18:21:37.156Z","_totalPosts":188,"id":"58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a","slug":"travel","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/travel/58c834b11f16f9392cf0992a/#comments","totalPosts":188},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2a3","blog":"magazine","title":"Features","_title_sort":"features","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.492Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.504Z","_totalPosts":208,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2a3","slug":"features","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/features/58b4b2404c2774661570f2a3/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/features/58b4b2404c2774661570f2a3/#comments","totalPosts":208},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed","blog":"magazine","title":"March 2014","_title_sort":"march 2014","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.568Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.575Z","_totalPosts":19,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed","slug":"march-2014","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed/#comments","totalPosts":19}],"image":{"_id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c5","legacy_id":"85196","title":"Main -dino","created":"2014-03-04T17:18:42.000Z","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:08.181Z","credits":"Henry Lopez","content_owner":"magazine","tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"title_sort":"main -dino","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_dino_f3811d3d-fdb2-4f02-a64b-3f8cdf3a9b64","version":1488237128,"signature":"2471ba07b097fbe07effd641229835c013206d36","width":490,"height":327,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-02-27T23:12:08.000Z","bytes":49630,"type":"upload","etag":"c335a7c115fe077eeaf63f941ce4e757","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237128/clients/newmexico/main_dino_f3811d3d-fdb2-4f02-a64b-3f8cdf3a9b64.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237128/clients/newmexico/main_dino_f3811d3d-fdb2-4f02-a64b-3f8cdf3a9b64.jpg","original_filename":"main-dino"},"deleted":false,"id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c5","type":"image","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_dino_f3811d3d-fdb2-4f02-a64b-3f8cdf3a9b64"}},"inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Main -dino"},"teaser":"
NEED TO KNOW
Clayton Lake State Park, Clayton; $5 per vehicle. Services and facilities are available at the visitor center within the park. (575) 374-8808; mynm.us/cclaytonlake

Bisti/De-Na-Zin
","description":"NEED TO KNOW Clayton Lake State Park , Clayton; $5 per vehicle. Services and facilities are available at the visitor center within the park. (575) 374-8808; mynm.us/cclaytonlake Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness , 30 miles south of Farmington; free. There are no facilities or services available. (505) 564-7600; mynm.us/bisti New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science , Albuquerque. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. $7, seniors 60 and older $6, ages 3–12 $4. (505) 841-2800; nmnaturalhistory.org MESOZOIC JACKPOT Opened in May 2000, Mesalands Community College’s Dinosaur Museum and Natural Science Laboratory, in Tucumcari, covers the entire Mesozoic era, which includes the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. “We have our glasswalled paleontology research labs and classrooms right here in the 10,000-squarefoot museum,” said Gretchen Gurtler, the museum’s director. “Visitors can watch research and cataloguing taking place while they walk through the museum.” A big attraction for the Mesalands facility is the world’s largest collection of life-size bronze replicas of dinosaur bones and fossils, which are created at the college’s on-site foundry, using molds made with objects discovered during fieldwork. (The annual casting takes place March 9–14, a spectacle that’s open to the public.) The museum was the first in the world to display a torvosaurus skeleton, a carnivore from the Late Jurassic period. “We have real bones and resin replicas,” Gurtler added, “and many of our exhibitions are touchable. We also have a special kids’ area where we bury dinosaur- and fossilrelated items and let the children have an excavation adventure of their own.” (575) 461-3466; mynm.us/mesamuseum LEGAL MATTERS In BLM national monuments, designated wilderness areas, and wilderness study areas, fossil collecting without a permit is prohibited; violators may incur fines or imprisonment. Vertebrate fossil discoveries should always be reported to the BLM or a museum, because of their rarity and scientific significance. Collecting invertebrate and plant fossils for noncommercial use is allowed on non-wilderness and non-monument BLM lands. Fossil collecting on private land must be done with the permission of the landowner. Tromping up a dry arroyo flanked by scrubby creosote bushes and tumbled blocks of red mudstone, eight-yearold Dominic made his first discovery of the day. “Look at this, I found a fossil!” he shouted, and bounded across a limestone flat with a palm-size chunk of rock in his hand. Evidence of two brachiopods— shelled sea creatures similar in size and shape to clams—sat frozen in time and solid rock. Brachiopods still exist today, but these were likely from the Permian period—the youngest period in the Paleozoic era, roughly 299 to 251 million years ago. My son and I were exploring the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, about six miles northwest of Las Cruces in the Robledo Mountains, and were starting to understand why our state is a top global destination for prehistoric discovery. Early life thrived here for hundreds of millions of years. At separate times in history, the landscape of what we now call New Mexico has included shallow tropical seas, lush tropical forests, and river floodplains—and, of course, their inhabitants. Evidence of this life lingers today: continental shifts, faults, rifts, and erosion have exposed the state’s rock formations, which contain fossil treasures for scientists—and even amateur explorers like Dominic—to find. “Acre per acre, New Mexico is as good as any place on earth for collecting fossils,” said Spencer Lucas, curator of paleontology and geology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque. “We can learn so much about the history of life from the fossils of New Mexico.” The state’s vast rocky landscapes offer the opportunity for year-round discoveries, and easy access to monuments and museums makes spotting fossils a fascinating adventure through time. The Permian Period 299 to 251 million years ago The Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, which spans 5,200 acres along the western edge of the Río Grande Valley in Doña Ana County, is a great place to start the adventure. Congress created the monument in 2009 because the park is deemed the most scientifically significant tracksite (fossilized trails and burrows of ancient insects, fish, and animals) in the world. The person largely responsible for the creation of the monument is Las Cruces resident and self-taught citizen scientist/ amateur paleontologist Jerry MacDonald. In 1987, MacDonald was hiking alone when he encountered the now famous Permian tracksites—known as the Discovery Site—where he excavated 2,500 slabs of trackways. The slabs now make up the Jerry MacDonald Paleozoic Trackways Collection at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque. “This tracksite is the key to [interpreting] all the other Permian sites found around the world,” explained Michael Downs, former interpretive park ranger with the Bureau of Land Management in Las Cruces, during our guided hike to the site. During the Permian period, what is now New Mexico was in the western equatorial tropics of the supercontinent Pangaea, a large landmass that consisted of all the present continents. A shallow tropical ocean—the Hueco Seaway—covered southern New Mexico and was home to marine life such as arthropods, crustaceans, amphibians, and reptiles, including the 13-foot-long dimetrodon, an iguana-like creature distinguished by a large sail on its back. Dimetrodon footprints have been found intact, as have whole-body imprints of primitive jumping insects, swimming trails of ancient fish, and corkscrew burrows of wormlike creatures that drilled into the shoreline. Although the monument does not yet have facilities, rangers lead Saturday morning hikes throughout the park. Dominic and I joined a group of about 20 other visitors. We walked to a spot where parts of a tracksite have been extracted, thus exposing red stone that contains a fossilized dimetrodon track and imprints of ancient conifer tree needles. Nearby, limestone held evidence of ancient sea life: brachiopods, sea lilies, and sea fans. Dominic’s first brachiopod discovery had to be left behind, because it was found within the monument boundaries, but he ended our journey with about 30 fossilized brachiopods from the sandstone quarry just outside the monument. He now has them displayed on the dresser and bookshelves in his room, vivid mementos of his adventure. Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, Las Cruces; free. Some areas, such as the Discovery Site, are not accessible by groomed trails. There are no facilities or marker signs at the monument. (575) 525-4300; mynm.us/trackways The Triassic Period 251 to 201 million years ago Making our way through time and history, our next stop was the Triassic period—the age of dinosaurs. Traveling U.S. Highway 84 north of Abiquiú, the striking sandstone cliffs and spires jutted out of the basin in bands of rust, white, and gold. Fossil collection has been recorded here since the 1880s, and new discoveries continue to be made, especially at Ghost Ranch, the onetime home of Georgia O’Keeffe that’s now an education and retreat center owned by the Presbyterian Church. “We have arguably some of the best Triassic land vertebrate sites in North America,” said Alex Downs, Ghost Ranch curator of paleontology. The ranch offers weeklong paleontology programs for adults and children during the summer and fall. In 1947, the ranch became world famous when a bed of complete coelophysis skeletons—hundreds of them at all stages of development—was discovered by Edwin H. Colbert, then of the American Museum of Natural History. Pronounced see-low- FY-sis, the dinosaur’s name is Latin for “hollow form,” referring to the predator’s hollow bones, which facilitated its agility and speed. Specimens have since been found only in New Mexico, and in March 1981 the species became the official state fossil. At nearly 10 feet long, coelophysis was considered a small dinosaur. The carnivorous creature ran on two hind legs and hunted insects, small mammals, and reptiles with clawed hands and more than 100 sharp teeth. Although Ghost Ranch is perhaps most famous for the coelophysis, other dinosaur remains have been found in the area. In 2004, a group of paleontology students spotted fossilized bone protruding from a hillside. Those fragments led to an excavation at what is now called Hayden Quarry, and in 2009 scientists officially introduced to the world the previously unknown Tawa hallae. (Tawa stems from the Hopi word for the Puebloan sun god; hallae is for Ruth Hall, the amateur paleontologist wife of Ghost Ranch’s first resident director, for which the on-premises Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology is named.) A cluster of Tawa skeletons were found in soft rock, which meant their bones were well preserved (and not crushed like the remains of many hollow bones). “We essentially have each bone in three dimensions,” said paleontologist Sterling Nesbitt, who worked at Ghost Ranch for four years. “It gives us new information about the origin and early evolution of dinosaurs.” The carnivorous beast, which walked on two legs and had protofeathers, lived 215 million years ago and essentially fills the gap between previously discovered fossils. “This bone bed is very, very important, because not only does it preserve the earliest dinosaurs, but it preserves a variety of details that are unprecedented in the Late Triassic,” Nesbitt continued. “Not only do we have animals, but we have wood and plants and all kinds of other things in this quarry that help us reconstruct what the Late Triassic was like in North America about 215 million years ago.” Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology, Ghost Ranch, Abiquiú. Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m. Donations accepted. Guided paleontology tours: Thurs.10–11:30 a.m., Apr. 4–Oct. 31; $25, students and kids 5–17 $12.50. (505) 685-4333 ext. 4118; ghostranch.org The Jurassic Period 201 to 146 million years ago When Pangaea broke apart, New Mexico’s hot and humid river floodplains filled with dense conifer forests, home to sauropods—long-necked, long-tailed herbivores with voluminous rib cages and pillar-like legs. Evidence of such creatures exists in central New Mexico, at the BLM’s Ojito Wilderness Study Area, near San Ysidro, where primitive trails wander through rough and rugged badlands, bluffs, and hoodoos. In 1979, two Albuquerqueans stumbled across several half-buried backbones— each about a foot long—during a hike in Ojito. Eventually the find was reported to David Gillette, then a curator of paleontology for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. “The bones lay partially exposed on a sandstone ledge ten feet below the top of a small mesa,” Gillette wrote in his 1994 book Seismosaurus: The Earth Shaker . “Mute and nameless, the bones lay only a hundred feet away from several panels of vivid rock carvings, perhaps a thousand years old. These figures of snakes and turtles and strange gangly men, chipped into the red, iron-stained rind of the sandstone, had brought us together.” Gillette nicknamed the creature “Sam,” but officially called the estimated 110-foot-long beast Seismosaurus hallorum— the earth-shaking dinosaur. Ironically, seismic tomography technology, which creates 3-D images of the internal structures of solid objects, would later be used to look for more of Sam’s bones hidden deep in the ground. “Sam’s existence as one of many sauropods in the Jurassic may have been minor and relatively insignificant in the ecology of the time,” Gillette wrote, “but the fossil remains of Sam are scientific treasures. What more may lay hidden in the sandstones of the Ojito?” Ojito Wilderness, Bernalillo; free. The closest facilities and services are in San Ysidro, 10 miles from the wilderness area. (505) 761-8700; mynm.us/ojitowild The Cretaceous Period 146 to 65 million years ago   By the Cretaceous period, the North American continent as we now know it was almost defined, but high sea levels flooded vast areas in the middle of the continent. Parts of New Mexico were a tropical seacoast, where the final wave of dinosaurs walked the shores. Along the spillway of Clayton Lake, in what’s now northeast New Mexico, approximately 800 tracks record the paths of giant herbivores and their sharp-clawed predators of 100 million years ago.   The most common tracks are three-toed impressions of “duck-billed,” plant-eating dinosaurs. The largest track—probably a hind foot—measures nearly 12 inches from the tip of the middle toe to the rear. Clayton Lake also features what are likely theropod (think T. rex) tracks, which are also three-toed but are smaller and more kite-shaped than the other tracks. Clayton Lake contains many parallel trackways that all run north. They are essentially adjacent tracksites made by different dinosaurs. This shows that dinosaurs traveled together in groups, probably along a migration route that stretched hundreds of miles north to south along what was then the Western Interior Seaway. “This is considered one of the top trackways in the world,” said Charles Jordan, Clayton Lake State Park manager. “What you’ll see that is very unique is tail drags— where the dinosaurs dragged their tails behind them. These are extremely rare. We have several distinct tail drags, more than anywhere in the world.” Best viewed with the help of shadows created by the morning and late-afternoon sun, the trackway is flanked by a trail that allows people to reach down and touch the tracks, and read the interpretive markers along the way. Although no dinosaur bones have been found at Clayton Lake, an abundance of fossils was discovered just 350 miles to the west at the BLM’s Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. A badlands moonscape of stark, sculpted-rock hoodoos 30 miles south of Farmington in the San Juan Basin, the area offers the world’s best fossil record of Late Cretaceous plants and animals, Lucas said. “I never met a fossil I didn’t like, but in New Mexico the fossil beds of the San Juan Basin are my favorite. Around the world, the San Juan Basin is famous for the time of history it records and its fossils.” These fossils belong to creatures that inhabited the area during the Late Cretaceous period (80 to 65 million years ago). What’s now a desert was then a vegetation-filled coastal swamp. Today the sediment contains remnants of fish, turtles, lizards, mammals, and dinosaurs, such as the 30-foot-long, duck-billed parasaurolophus or the five-horned, plant-eating pentaceratops. Most famous of all is the Bisti Beast, aka Bistahieversor sealeyi, a member of the carnivorous tyrannosaur family. A volunteer researcher discovered part of the skull in 1997, and in 1998 the dinosaur was excavated—its removal was the first paleontological excavation in a federal wilderness area. Today the skull of the Bisti Beast, whose body was probably about 30 feet long and weighed three tons, is part of the Cretaceous seacoast exhibit at the Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque. But Sherrie Landon, paleontology coordinator at the BLM Farmington Field Office, assures visitors to the badlands that there’s still plenty to discover in the 41,170-acre wilderness area. “You can start at the bottom of a canyon and see in the rock when the dinosaurs lived, and moving up through the layers you can see where they were wiped out,” she said. “The boundary is recorded globally, but it doesn’t get exposed in very many places. We have more than a mile of it.” ✜","id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f95b","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/the-land-of-the-giants-85194/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/the-land-of-the-giants-85194/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/the-land-of-the-giants-85194/","metaTitle":"The Land of the Giants","metaDescription":"
NEED TO KNOW
Clayton Lake State Park, Clayton; $5 per vehicle. Services and facilities are available at the visitor center within the park. (575) 374-8808; mynm.us/cclaytonlake

Bisti/De-Na-Zin
","cleanDescription":"NEED TO KNOW Clayton Lake State Park , Clayton; $5 per vehicle. Services and facilities are available at the visitor center within the park. (575) 374-8808; mynm.us/cclaytonlake Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness , 30 miles south of Farmington; free. There are no facilities or services available. (505) 564-7600; mynm.us/bisti New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science , Albuquerque. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. $7, seniors 60 and older $6, ages 3–12 $4. (505) 841-2800; nmnaturalhistory.org MESOZOIC JACKPOT Opened in May 2000, Mesalands Community College’s Dinosaur Museum and Natural Science Laboratory, in Tucumcari, covers the entire Mesozoic era, which includes the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. “We have our glasswalled paleontology research labs and classrooms right here in the 10,000-squarefoot museum,” said Gretchen Gurtler, the museum’s director. “Visitors can watch research and cataloguing taking place while they walk through the museum.” A big attraction for the Mesalands facility is the world’s largest collection of life-size bronze replicas of dinosaur bones and fossils, which are created at the college’s on-site foundry, using molds made with objects discovered during fieldwork. (The annual casting takes place March 9–14, a spectacle that’s open to the public.) The museum was the first in the world to display a torvosaurus skeleton, a carnivore from the Late Jurassic period. “We have real bones and resin replicas,” Gurtler added, “and many of our exhibitions are touchable. We also have a special kids’ area where we bury dinosaur- and fossilrelated items and let the children have an excavation adventure of their own.” (575) 461-3466; mynm.us/mesamuseum LEGAL MATTERS In BLM national monuments, designated wilderness areas, and wilderness study areas, fossil collecting without a permit is prohibited; violators may incur fines or imprisonment. Vertebrate fossil discoveries should always be reported to the BLM or a museum, because of their rarity and scientific significance. Collecting invertebrate and plant fossils for noncommercial use is allowed on non-wilderness and non-monument BLM lands. Fossil collecting on private land must be done with the permission of the landowner. Tromping up a dry arroyo flanked by scrubby creosote bushes and tumbled blocks of red mudstone, eight-yearold Dominic made his first discovery of the day. “Look at this, I found a fossil!” he shouted, and bounded across a limestone flat with a palm-size chunk of rock in his hand. Evidence of two brachiopods— shelled sea creatures similar in size and shape to clams—sat frozen in time and solid rock. Brachiopods still exist today, but these were likely from the Permian period—the youngest period in the Paleozoic era, roughly 299 to 251 million years ago. My son and I were exploring the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, about six miles northwest of Las Cruces in the Robledo Mountains, and were starting to understand why our state is a top global destination for prehistoric discovery. Early life thrived here for hundreds of millions of years. At separate times in history, the landscape of what we now call New Mexico has included shallow tropical seas, lush tropical forests, and river floodplains—and, of course, their inhabitants. Evidence of this life lingers today: continental shifts, faults, rifts, and erosion have exposed the state’s rock formations, which contain fossil treasures for scientists—and even amateur explorers like Dominic—to find. “Acre per acre, New Mexico is as good as any place on earth for collecting fossils,” said Spencer Lucas, curator of paleontology and geology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque. “We can learn so much about the history of life from the fossils of New Mexico.” The state’s vast rocky landscapes offer the opportunity for year-round discoveries, and easy access to monuments and museums makes spotting fossils a fascinating adventure through time. The Permian Period 299 to 251 million years ago The Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, which spans 5,200 acres along the western edge of the Río Grande Valley in Doña Ana County, is a great place to start the adventure. Congress created the monument in 2009 because the park is deemed the most scientifically significant tracksite (fossilized trails and burrows of ancient insects, fish, and animals) in the world. The person largely responsible for the creation of the monument is Las Cruces resident and self-taught citizen scientist/ amateur paleontologist Jerry MacDonald. In 1987, MacDonald was hiking alone when he encountered the now famous Permian tracksites—known as the Discovery Site—where he excavated 2,500 slabs of trackways. The slabs now make up the Jerry MacDonald Paleozoic Trackways Collection at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque. “This tracksite is the key to [interpreting] all the other Permian sites found around the world,” explained Michael Downs, former interpretive park ranger with the Bureau of Land Management in Las Cruces, during our guided hike to the site. During the Permian period, what is now New Mexico was in the western equatorial tropics of the supercontinent Pangaea, a large landmass that consisted of all the present continents. A shallow tropical ocean—the Hueco Seaway—covered southern New Mexico and was home to marine life such as arthropods, crustaceans, amphibians, and reptiles, including the 13-foot-long dimetrodon, an iguana-like creature distinguished by a large sail on its back. Dimetrodon footprints have been found intact, as have whole-body imprints of primitive jumping insects, swimming trails of ancient fish, and corkscrew burrows of wormlike creatures that drilled into the shoreline. Although the monument does not yet have facilities, rangers lead Saturday morning hikes throughout the park. Dominic and I joined a group of about 20 other visitors. We walked to a spot where parts of a tracksite have been extracted, thus exposing red stone that contains a fossilized dimetrodon track and imprints of ancient conifer tree needles. Nearby, limestone held evidence of ancient sea life: brachiopods, sea lilies, and sea fans. Dominic’s first brachiopod discovery had to be left behind, because it was found within the monument boundaries, but he ended our journey with about 30 fossilized brachiopods from the sandstone quarry just outside the monument. He now has them displayed on the dresser and bookshelves in his room, vivid mementos of his adventure. Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, Las Cruces; free. Some areas, such as the Discovery Site, are not accessible by groomed trails. There are no facilities or marker signs at the monument. (575) 525-4300; mynm.us/trackways The Triassic Period 251 to 201 million years ago Making our way through time and history, our next stop was the Triassic period—the age of dinosaurs. Traveling U.S. Highway 84 north of Abiquiú, the striking sandstone cliffs and spires jutted out of the basin in bands of rust, white, and gold. Fossil collection has been recorded here since the 1880s, and new discoveries continue to be made, especially at Ghost Ranch, the onetime home of Georgia O’Keeffe that’s now an education and retreat center owned by the Presbyterian Church. “We have arguably some of the best Triassic land vertebrate sites in North America,” said Alex Downs, Ghost Ranch curator of paleontology. The ranch offers weeklong paleontology programs for adults and children during the summer and fall. In 1947, the ranch became world famous when a bed of complete coelophysis skeletons—hundreds of them at all stages of development—was discovered by Edwin H. Colbert, then of the American Museum of Natural History. Pronounced see-low- FY-sis, the dinosaur’s name is Latin for “hollow form,” referring to the predator’s hollow bones, which facilitated its agility and speed. Specimens have since been found only in New Mexico, and in March 1981 the species became the official state fossil. At nearly 10 feet long, coelophysis was considered a small dinosaur. The carnivorous creature ran on two hind legs and hunted insects, small mammals, and reptiles with clawed hands and more than 100 sharp teeth. Although Ghost Ranch is perhaps most famous for the coelophysis, other dinosaur remains have been found in the area. In 2004, a group of paleontology students spotted fossilized bone protruding from a hillside. Those fragments led to an excavation at what is now called Hayden Quarry, and in 2009 scientists officially introduced to the world the previously unknown Tawa hallae. (Tawa stems from the Hopi word for the Puebloan sun god; hallae is for Ruth Hall, the amateur paleontologist wife of Ghost Ranch’s first resident director, for which the on-premises Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology is named.) A cluster of Tawa skeletons were found in soft rock, which meant their bones were well preserved (and not crushed like the remains of many hollow bones). “We essentially have each bone in three dimensions,” said paleontologist Sterling Nesbitt, who worked at Ghost Ranch for four years. “It gives us new information about the origin and early evolution of dinosaurs.” The carnivorous beast, which walked on two legs and had protofeathers, lived 215 million years ago and essentially fills the gap between previously discovered fossils. “This bone bed is very, very important, because not only does it preserve the earliest dinosaurs, but it preserves a variety of details that are unprecedented in the Late Triassic,” Nesbitt continued. “Not only do we have animals, but we have wood and plants and all kinds of other things in this quarry that help us reconstruct what the Late Triassic was like in North America about 215 million years ago.” Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology, Ghost Ranch, Abiquiú. Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m. Donations accepted. Guided paleontology tours: Thurs.10–11:30 a.m., Apr. 4–Oct. 31; $25, students and kids 5–17 $12.50. (505) 685-4333 ext. 4118; ghostranch.org The Jurassic Period 201 to 146 million years ago When Pangaea broke apart, New Mexico’s hot and humid river floodplains filled with dense conifer forests, home to sauropods—long-necked, long-tailed herbivores with voluminous rib cages and pillar-like legs. Evidence of such creatures exists in central New Mexico, at the BLM’s Ojito Wilderness Study Area, near San Ysidro, where primitive trails wander through rough and rugged badlands, bluffs, and hoodoos. In 1979, two Albuquerqueans stumbled across several half-buried backbones— each about a foot long—during a hike in Ojito. Eventually the find was reported to David Gillette, then a curator of paleontology for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. “The bones lay partially exposed on a sandstone ledge ten feet below the top of a small mesa,” Gillette wrote in his 1994 book Seismosaurus: The Earth Shaker . “Mute and nameless, the bones lay only a hundred feet away from several panels of vivid rock carvings, perhaps a thousand years old. These figures of snakes and turtles and strange gangly men, chipped into the red, iron-stained rind of the sandstone, had brought us together.” Gillette nicknamed the creature “Sam,” but officially called the estimated 110-foot-long beast Seismosaurus hallorum— the earth-shaking dinosaur. Ironically, seismic tomography technology, which creates 3-D images of the internal structures of solid objects, would later be used to look for more of Sam’s bones hidden deep in the ground. “Sam’s existence as one of many sauropods in the Jurassic may have been minor and relatively insignificant in the ecology of the time,” Gillette wrote, “but the fossil remains of Sam are scientific treasures. What more may lay hidden in the sandstones of the Ojito?” Ojito Wilderness, Bernalillo; free. The closest facilities and services are in San Ysidro, 10 miles from the wilderness area. (505) 761-8700; mynm.us/ojitowild The Cretaceous Period 146 to 65 million years ago   By the Cretaceous period, the North American continent as we now know it was almost defined, but high sea levels flooded vast areas in the middle of the continent. Parts of New Mexico were a tropical seacoast, where the final wave of dinosaurs walked the shores. Along the spillway of Clayton Lake, in what’s now northeast New Mexico, approximately 800 tracks record the paths of giant herbivores and their sharp-clawed predators of 100 million years ago.   The most common tracks are three-toed impressions of “duck-billed,” plant-eating dinosaurs. The largest track—probably a hind foot—measures nearly 12 inches from the tip of the middle toe to the rear. Clayton Lake also features what are likely theropod (think T. rex) tracks, which are also three-toed but are smaller and more kite-shaped than the other tracks. Clayton Lake contains many parallel trackways that all run north. They are essentially adjacent tracksites made by different dinosaurs. This shows that dinosaurs traveled together in groups, probably along a migration route that stretched hundreds of miles north to south along what was then the Western Interior Seaway. “This is considered one of the top trackways in the world,” said Charles Jordan, Clayton Lake State Park manager. “What you’ll see that is very unique is tail drags— where the dinosaurs dragged their tails behind them. These are extremely rare. We have several distinct tail drags, more than anywhere in the world.” Best viewed with the help of shadows created by the morning and late-afternoon sun, the trackway is flanked by a trail that allows people to reach down and touch the tracks, and read the interpretive markers along the way. Although no dinosaur bones have been found at Clayton Lake, an abundance of fossils was discovered just 350 miles to the west at the BLM’s Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. A badlands moonscape of stark, sculpted-rock hoodoos 30 miles south of Farmington in the San Juan Basin, the area offers the world’s best fossil record of Late Cretaceous plants and animals, Lucas said. “I never met a fossil I didn’t like, but in New Mexico the fossil beds of the San Juan Basin are my favorite. Around the world, the San Juan Basin is famous for the time of history it records and its fossils.” These fossils belong to creatures that inhabited the area during the Late Cretaceous period (80 to 65 million years ago). What’s now a desert was then a vegetation-filled coastal swamp. Today the sediment contains remnants of fish, turtles, lizards, mammals, and dinosaurs, such as the 30-foot-long, duck-billed parasaurolophus or the five-horned, plant-eating pentaceratops. Most famous of all is the Bisti Beast, aka Bistahieversor sealeyi, a member of the carnivorous tyrannosaur family. A volunteer researcher discovered part of the skull in 1997, and in 1998 the dinosaur was excavated—its removal was the first paleontological excavation in a federal wilderness area. Today the skull of the Bisti Beast, whose body was probably about 30 feet long and weighed three tons, is part of the Cretaceous seacoast exhibit at the Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque. But Sherrie Landon, paleontology coordinator at the BLM Farmington Field Office, assures visitors to the badlands that there’s still plenty to discover in the 41,170-acre wilderness area. “You can start at the bottom of a canyon and see in the rock when the dinosaurs lived, and moving up through the layers you can see where they were wiped out,” she said. “The boundary is recorded globally, but it doesn’t get exposed in very many places. We have more than a mile of it.” ✜","publish_start_moment":"2014-03-04T16:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-18T03:21:11.953Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f95a","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f25b","title":"Painting the Town","slug":"mosquero-murals-85191","image_id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c6","publish_start":"2014-03-04T16:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58c839601f16f9392cf09a98","58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","58f5533b46da1c146c0fc752","58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed"],"tags_ids":["59090c80e1efff4c9916fa05","59090ce8e1efff4c9916fa49","59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","59090d59e1efff4c9916fa9b"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"custom_photo_credit":"Tim Keller","custom_tagline":"Murals enliven the remote ranching village of Mosquero, pop. 94.","created":"2014-03-04T16:03:28.000Z","legacy_id":"85191","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"painting the town","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:31.283Z","active":true,"description_raw":"
NEED TO KNOW
\r\nMosquero is 164 miles from Santa Fe. Take I-25 N. 106 mi. Take N.M. 120 toward Wagon Mound (exit 387) for 34 mi. (N.M. 120 turns into Wagon Mound Highway after 24 mi.) Turn right (SE) onto Richelieu St./N.M. 39 and drive 18 miles to Mosquero.
\r\n
\r\nIf you plan to stay overnight, make a reservation at The Rectory Bed & Bath, in Mosquero, or La Casita, in Roy, which is 18 miles SE of Mosquero. Enjoy lunch at Annette’s Cafe, in Roy, or pick up ingredients from grocery stores in either town to prepare meals in the lodgings’ kitchens (available to guests) at the Rectory and La Casita.
\r\n
\r\nMOSQUERO
\r\nTown & Country Market 30-C Main Street; (575) 673-2930 The Rectory Bed & Bath Full kitchen. $125–$325. 10 S. 4th St.; (575) 673-2267
\r\n
\r\nROY
\r\nAnnette’s Café Open for breakfast and lunch. Green chile cheeseburgers and Mexican fare. Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. 325 Chicosa St.; (575) 485-9616
\r\n
\r\nLa Casita Gorgeous western guesthouse, full kitchen. $75–$150. 150 Wagon Mound Hwy.; (575) 485-2559
\r\n
\r\nMa Sally’s Mercantile Arts, crafts, antiques, snacks. 450 Richelieu St./ N.M. 39; (575) 485-5599
\r\n\r\n

It’ll stop you in your tracks. Driving across the vast open grasslands and red canyons of remote northeastern New Mexico, you’re passing through the Harding County seat of Mosquero, population 94, when suddenly you realize you’ve entered an illustrated world. Every storefront is covered in bright murals that breathe life into the town’s past and its present.

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True, few travelers traverse isolated N.M. 39 or reach Mosquero, but those who do inevitably slow down for the double take. Many reach the end of Main Street and make a U-turn for another look. They might even stop and ask around, and learn that every person on these walls has a name and a story. Some of them are still here.

\r\n\r\n

The Paint the Town project was born in 2008 with a modest rural education grant to Mosquero Schools’ state-of-the-art multimedia education program, which is called Roundup Technology. Staff sponsor Donna Hazen recruited artist Doug Quarles, a Louisiana transplant, to commute the 74 miles from his home in Tucumcari, where he’s developed his own active mural projects along historic Route 66.

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For five years, Quarles has spent a day or two every week teaching Mosquero students in grades 7–12 to make murals. Students repair and replaster the old adobe surfaces, select subjects and images, scale the images to the walls, and apply layers of paint. Historical figures and events are collected by the seventh- and eighth-grade students’ ongoing research project, Primeras Familias de Nuevo Mexico, which has also produced annual books and a short film.

\r\n\r\n

Gabriel Trujillo was a lead artist the first two years; he’s continued to lend his hand since his 2010 graduation. “This project took us out of our comfort zone,” he said. “We had to learn a lot of new skills, including communication skills. Painting on the street, I’ve spent a lot of time talking with townspeople and passing tourists.”

\r\n\r\n

Hazen added, “Locals don’t spend much time hanging out on the main street generally, but when the kids are out painting, the street is bustling with people.”

\r\n\r\n

The village’s businesses have donated funds to buy paint, which costs up to $200 for a five-gallon pail. One wall can swallow 10 gallons just for a base coat. The students raised $30,000 on their own through various fund-raising activities. The project’s biggest boost came when Roundup Tech was awarded a $125,000 Microsoft Partners in Learning grant.

\r\n\r\n

“Sprucing up properties has become contagious,” said Bill Ward, superintendent of schools. “All around town, people have been out making improvements to their homes and properties.”

\r\n\r\n

Local rancher Tuda Libby Crews went even further. When she learned that St. Joseph’s Church was about to raze its long-abandoned rectory, she bought it. After years of loving renovation, with furnishings and artworks gathered slowly from antique stores and flea markets, the Rectory is now Mosquero’s gem of a guesthouse. “The Paint the Town project has been an incubator for positive change,” Crews said. “It feels like one big happy family here, and everyone’s going in the same direction.”

\r\n\r\n

Jimmie and Ellen Ridge moved to Mosquero three years ago, after retiring from the Air Force in Mississippi. Jimmie says, “We searched the West for a place to make a contribution. Mosquero’s murals grabbed our attention. We were attracted by the vitality here.” They bought and now run Town & Country Market, and they’re developing a bed-and-breakfast that they plan on calling the Bunkhouse.

\r\n\r\n

Their next-door neighbors on Main Street are Erma’s Coffee Shop and Pat’s City Bar, anchor businesses renowned for great food and atmosphere, but recently Erma and Pat Trujillo had to close their ma-and-pa businesses and move away due to illness; their businesses are for sale. A burrito wagon has opened for the time being; otherwise, people drive 18 miles north to Annette’s Cafe, in Roy, Harding County’s biggest town, with 300 people.

\r\n\r\n

Mosquero sophomore John David “J.D.” Chatfield grew into a lead role in the Paint the Town project. “It’s fun,” he said, sitting on a bench next to a painting of two cowboys, one of whom represents his father, Jack Chatfield. “A lot of us come from ranches,” J.D. said. “This project gives us freedom and responsibility. Doug teaches us how to do it and he’s lowpressure. His motto is ‘It’s only paint— we can always paint over it.’”

\r\n\r\n

The students had rich stories about the subjects in the murals, and they enjoyed standing for photographs next to paintings of their relatives. J.D. tipped his big black cowboy hat to an approaching tourist.

\r\n\r\n

“It makes people happy,” said Aaron Martinez, a head painter and 2012 graduate. “The old people get proud of the town, and the tourists stop and take pictures.” Looks like that paint was a wise investment. ✜

\r\n\r\n

Tim Keller, a Ratón-based writer, photographer, and singer-songwriter, posts his work at timkellerarts.com.

\r\n\r\n

Become a Paint the Town patron by sending a donation to Mosquero Schools Roundup Tech Program, P.O. Box 258, Mosquero, NM 87733.

","teaser_raw":"
NEED TO KNOW
Mosquero is 164 miles from Santa Fe. Take I-25 N. 106 mi. Take N.M. 120 toward Wagon Mound (exit 387) for 34 mi. (N.M. 120 turns into Wagon Mound Highway after 24 mi.) Turn right (SE)
","version_id":"59f8ebb3648901d6cd725dce","author":{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f25b","blog":"magazine","name":"Tim Keller","_name_sort":"tim keller","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.428Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.435Z","_totalPosts":12,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f25b","title":"Tim Keller","slug":"tim-keller","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/tim-keller/58b4b2404c2774661570f25b/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/tim-keller/58b4b2404c2774661570f25b/#comments","totalPosts":12},"categories":[{"_id":"58c839601f16f9392cf09a98","title":"Culture","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"culture","updated":"2017-03-14T18:41:36.747Z","created":"2017-03-14T18:41:36.748Z","_totalPosts":218,"id":"58c839601f16f9392cf09a98","slug":"culture","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/culture/58c839601f16f9392cf09a98/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/culture/58c839601f16f9392cf09a98/#comments","totalPosts":218},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","blog":"magazine","title":"Going Places","_title_sort":"going places","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.493Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.506Z","_totalPosts":78,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4","slug":"going-places","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/going-places/58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/going-places/58b4b2404c2774661570f2b4/#comments","totalPosts":78},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed","blog":"magazine","title":"March 2014","_title_sort":"march 2014","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.568Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.575Z","_totalPosts":19,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed","slug":"march-2014","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed/#comments","totalPosts":19}],"image":{"_id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c6","legacy_id":"85193","title":"Main","created":"2014-03-04T16:22:18.000Z","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:08.179Z","credits":"Henry Lopez","content_owner":"magazine","tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"title_sort":"main","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_9a9123c2-dcf9-4c2a-acc4-25a733bb85d0","version":1488237128,"signature":"86417d19f85de819ba0a33b51a32bfcae288ceb3","width":490,"height":356,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-02-27T23:12:08.000Z","bytes":30545,"type":"upload","etag":"7b3649ef145674d368469856fd642f3c","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237128/clients/newmexico/main_9a9123c2-dcf9-4c2a-acc4-25a733bb85d0.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237128/clients/newmexico/main_9a9123c2-dcf9-4c2a-acc4-25a733bb85d0.jpg","original_filename":"main"},"deleted":false,"id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c6","type":"image","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_9a9123c2-dcf9-4c2a-acc4-25a733bb85d0"}},"inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Main"},"tags":[{"_id":"59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","title":"Events","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"events","updated":"2017-05-02T22:48:09.170Z","created":"2017-05-02T22:48:09.171Z","_totalPosts":62,"id":"59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20","slug":"events","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/events/59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/events/59090ca9e1efff4c9916fa20/#comments","totalPosts":62}],"teaser":"
NEED TO KNOW
Mosquero is 164 miles from Santa Fe. Take I-25 N. 106 mi. Take N.M. 120 toward Wagon Mound (exit 387) for 34 mi. (N.M. 120 turns into Wagon Mound Highway after 24 mi.) Turn right (SE)
","description":"NEED TO KNOW Mosquero is 164 miles from Santa Fe. Take I-25 N. 106 mi. Take N.M. 120 toward Wagon Mound (exit 387) for 34 mi. (N.M. 120 turns into Wagon Mound Highway after 24 mi.) Turn right (SE) onto Richelieu St./N.M. 39 and drive 18 miles to Mosquero. If you plan to stay overnight, make a reservation at The Rectory Bed & Bath , in Mosquero, or La Casita , in Roy, which is 18 miles SE of Mosquero. Enjoy lunch at Annette’s Cafe , in Roy, or pick up ingredients from grocery stores in either town to prepare meals in the lodgings’ kitchens (available to guests) at the Rectory and La Casita. MOSQUERO Town & Country Market 30-C Main Street; (575) 673-2930 The Rectory Bed & Bath Full kitchen. $125–$325. 10 S. 4th St.; (575) 673-2267 ROY Annette’s Café Open for breakfast and lunch. Green chile cheeseburgers and Mexican fare. Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. 325 Chicosa St.; (575) 485-9616 La Casita Gorgeous western guesthouse, full kitchen. $75–$150. 150 Wagon Mound Hwy.; (575) 485-2559 Ma Sally’s Mercantile Arts, crafts, antiques, snacks. 450 Richelieu St./ N.M. 39; (575) 485-5599 It’ll stop you in your tracks. Driving across the vast open grasslands and red canyons of remote northeastern New Mexico, you’re passing through the Harding County seat of Mosquero, population 94, when suddenly you realize you’ve entered an illustrated world. Every storefront is covered in bright murals that breathe life into the town’s past and its present. True, few travelers traverse isolated N.M. 39 or reach Mosquero, but those who do inevitably slow down for the double take. Many reach the end of Main Street and make a U-turn for another look. They might even stop and ask around, and learn that every person on these walls has a name and a story. Some of them are still here. The Paint the Town project was born in 2008 with a modest rural education grant to Mosquero Schools’ state-of-the-art multimedia education program, which is called Roundup Technology. Staff sponsor Donna Hazen recruited artist Doug Quarles, a Louisiana transplant, to commute the 74 miles from his home in Tucumcari, where he’s developed his own active mural projects along historic Route 66. For five years, Quarles has spent a day or two every week teaching Mosquero students in grades 7–12 to make murals. Students repair and replaster the old adobe surfaces, select subjects and images, scale the images to the walls, and apply layers of paint. Historical figures and events are collected by the seventh- and eighth-grade students’ ongoing research project, Primeras Familias de Nuevo Mexico, which has also produced annual books and a short film. Gabriel Trujillo was a lead artist the first two years; he’s continued to lend his hand since his 2010 graduation. “This project took us out of our comfort zone,” he said. “We had to learn a lot of new skills, including communication skills. Painting on the street, I’ve spent a lot of time talking with townspeople and passing tourists.” Hazen added, “Locals don’t spend much time hanging out on the main street generally, but when the kids are out painting, the street is bustling with people.” The village’s businesses have donated funds to buy paint, which costs up to $200 for a five-gallon pail. One wall can swallow 10 gallons just for a base coat. The students raised $30,000 on their own through various fund-raising activities. The project’s biggest boost came when Roundup Tech was awarded a $125,000 Microsoft Partners in Learning grant. “Sprucing up properties has become contagious,” said Bill Ward, superintendent of schools. “All around town, people have been out making improvements to their homes and properties.” Local rancher Tuda Libby Crews went even further. When she learned that St. Joseph’s Church was about to raze its long-abandoned rectory, she bought it. After years of loving renovation, with furnishings and artworks gathered slowly from antique stores and flea markets, the Rectory is now Mosquero’s gem of a guesthouse. “The Paint the Town project has been an incubator for positive change,” Crews said. “It feels like one big happy family here, and everyone’s going in the same direction.” Jimmie and Ellen Ridge moved to Mosquero three years ago, after retiring from the Air Force in Mississippi. Jimmie says, “We searched the West for a place to make a contribution. Mosquero’s murals grabbed our attention. We were attracted by the vitality here.” They bought and now run Town & Country Market, and they’re developing a bed-and-breakfast that they plan on calling the Bunkhouse. Their next-door neighbors on Main Street are Erma’s Coffee Shop and Pat’s City Bar, anchor businesses renowned for great food and atmosphere, but recently Erma and Pat Trujillo had to close their ma-and-pa businesses and move away due to illness; their businesses are for sale. A burrito wagon has opened for the time being; otherwise, people drive 18 miles north to Annette’s Cafe, in Roy, Harding County’s biggest town, with 300 people. Mosquero sophomore John David “J.D.” Chatfield grew into a lead role in the Paint the Town project. “It’s fun,” he said, sitting on a bench next to a painting of two cowboys, one of whom represents his father, Jack Chatfield. “A lot of us come from ranches,” J.D. said. “This project gives us freedom and responsibility. Doug teaches us how to do it and he’s lowpressure. His motto is ‘It’s only paint— we can always paint over it.’” The students had rich stories about the subjects in the murals, and they enjoyed standing for photographs next to paintings of their relatives. J.D. tipped his big black cowboy hat to an approaching tourist. “It makes people happy,” said Aaron Martinez, a head painter and 2012 graduate. “The old people get proud of the town, and the tourists stop and take pictures.” Looks like that paint was a wise investment. ✜ Tim Keller, a Ratón-based writer, photographer, and singer-songwriter, posts his work at timkellerarts.com. Become a Paint the Town patron by sending a donation to Mosquero Schools Roundup Tech Program, P.O. Box 258, Mosquero, NM 87733.","id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f95a","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/mosquero-murals-85191/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/mosquero-murals-85191/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/mosquero-murals-85191/","metaTitle":"Painting the Town","metaDescription":"
NEED TO KNOW
Mosquero is 164 miles from Santa Fe. Take I-25 N. 106 mi. Take N.M. 120 toward Wagon Mound (exit 387) for 34 mi. (N.M. 120 turns into Wagon Mound Highway after 24 mi.) Turn right (SE)
","cleanDescription":"NEED TO KNOW Mosquero is 164 miles from Santa Fe. Take I-25 N. 106 mi. Take N.M. 120 toward Wagon Mound (exit 387) for 34 mi. (N.M. 120 turns into Wagon Mound Highway after 24 mi.) Turn right (SE) onto Richelieu St./N.M. 39 and drive 18 miles to Mosquero. If you plan to stay overnight, make a reservation at The Rectory Bed & Bath , in Mosquero, or La Casita , in Roy, which is 18 miles SE of Mosquero. Enjoy lunch at Annette’s Cafe , in Roy, or pick up ingredients from grocery stores in either town to prepare meals in the lodgings’ kitchens (available to guests) at the Rectory and La Casita. MOSQUERO Town & Country Market 30-C Main Street; (575) 673-2930 The Rectory Bed & Bath Full kitchen. $125–$325. 10 S. 4th St.; (575) 673-2267 ROY Annette’s Café Open for breakfast and lunch. Green chile cheeseburgers and Mexican fare. Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. 325 Chicosa St.; (575) 485-9616 La Casita Gorgeous western guesthouse, full kitchen. $75–$150. 150 Wagon Mound Hwy.; (575) 485-2559 Ma Sally’s Mercantile Arts, crafts, antiques, snacks. 450 Richelieu St./ N.M. 39; (575) 485-5599 It’ll stop you in your tracks. Driving across the vast open grasslands and red canyons of remote northeastern New Mexico, you’re passing through the Harding County seat of Mosquero, population 94, when suddenly you realize you’ve entered an illustrated world. Every storefront is covered in bright murals that breathe life into the town’s past and its present. True, few travelers traverse isolated N.M. 39 or reach Mosquero, but those who do inevitably slow down for the double take. Many reach the end of Main Street and make a U-turn for another look. They might even stop and ask around, and learn that every person on these walls has a name and a story. Some of them are still here. The Paint the Town project was born in 2008 with a modest rural education grant to Mosquero Schools’ state-of-the-art multimedia education program, which is called Roundup Technology. Staff sponsor Donna Hazen recruited artist Doug Quarles, a Louisiana transplant, to commute the 74 miles from his home in Tucumcari, where he’s developed his own active mural projects along historic Route 66. For five years, Quarles has spent a day or two every week teaching Mosquero students in grades 7–12 to make murals. Students repair and replaster the old adobe surfaces, select subjects and images, scale the images to the walls, and apply layers of paint. Historical figures and events are collected by the seventh- and eighth-grade students’ ongoing research project, Primeras Familias de Nuevo Mexico, which has also produced annual books and a short film. Gabriel Trujillo was a lead artist the first two years; he’s continued to lend his hand since his 2010 graduation. “This project took us out of our comfort zone,” he said. “We had to learn a lot of new skills, including communication skills. Painting on the street, I’ve spent a lot of time talking with townspeople and passing tourists.” Hazen added, “Locals don’t spend much time hanging out on the main street generally, but when the kids are out painting, the street is bustling with people.” The village’s businesses have donated funds to buy paint, which costs up to $200 for a five-gallon pail. One wall can swallow 10 gallons just for a base coat. The students raised $30,000 on their own through various fund-raising activities. The project’s biggest boost came when Roundup Tech was awarded a $125,000 Microsoft Partners in Learning grant. “Sprucing up properties has become contagious,” said Bill Ward, superintendent of schools. “All around town, people have been out making improvements to their homes and properties.” Local rancher Tuda Libby Crews went even further. When she learned that St. Joseph’s Church was about to raze its long-abandoned rectory, she bought it. After years of loving renovation, with furnishings and artworks gathered slowly from antique stores and flea markets, the Rectory is now Mosquero’s gem of a guesthouse. “The Paint the Town project has been an incubator for positive change,” Crews said. “It feels like one big happy family here, and everyone’s going in the same direction.” Jimmie and Ellen Ridge moved to Mosquero three years ago, after retiring from the Air Force in Mississippi. Jimmie says, “We searched the West for a place to make a contribution. Mosquero’s murals grabbed our attention. We were attracted by the vitality here.” They bought and now run Town & Country Market, and they’re developing a bed-and-breakfast that they plan on calling the Bunkhouse. Their next-door neighbors on Main Street are Erma’s Coffee Shop and Pat’s City Bar, anchor businesses renowned for great food and atmosphere, but recently Erma and Pat Trujillo had to close their ma-and-pa businesses and move away due to illness; their businesses are for sale. A burrito wagon has opened for the time being; otherwise, people drive 18 miles north to Annette’s Cafe, in Roy, Harding County’s biggest town, with 300 people. Mosquero sophomore John David “J.D.” Chatfield grew into a lead role in the Paint the Town project. “It’s fun,” he said, sitting on a bench next to a painting of two cowboys, one of whom represents his father, Jack Chatfield. “A lot of us come from ranches,” J.D. said. “This project gives us freedom and responsibility. Doug teaches us how to do it and he’s lowpressure. His motto is ‘It’s only paint— we can always paint over it.’” The students had rich stories about the subjects in the murals, and they enjoyed standing for photographs next to paintings of their relatives. J.D. tipped his big black cowboy hat to an approaching tourist. “It makes people happy,” said Aaron Martinez, a head painter and 2012 graduate. “The old people get proud of the town, and the tourists stop and take pictures.” Looks like that paint was a wise investment. ✜ Tim Keller, a Ratón-based writer, photographer, and singer-songwriter, posts his work at timkellerarts.com. Become a Paint the Town patron by sending a donation to Mosquero Schools Roundup Tech Program, P.O. Box 258, Mosquero, NM 87733.","publish_start_moment":"2014-03-04T16:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-18T03:21:11.954Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f959","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f1e3","title":"My Grandfather “Dub”","slug":"my-grandfather-dub-85188","image_id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c4","publish_start":"2014-03-04T15:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58b4b2404c2774661570f30e","58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed"],"tags_ids":["59090dece1efff4c9916fb00","59090d59e1efff4c9916fa9b"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"custom_photo_credit":"Jeremy Wade Shockley","custom_tagline":"Stories that remind us what it is to fall in love with New Mexico, and stay there.","created":"2014-03-04T15:50:57.000Z","legacy_id":"85188","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"my grandfather “dub”","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:31.206Z","active":true,"description_raw":"

This portrait of my grandfather, James W. Shockley, is one of the images I hold most dear from my personal project about the American West. I made this photograph a number of years ago in my grandfather’s workshop, outside of Farmington. The place remains almost unchanged since my youth, and is such a central part of my early childhood memories that the visuals alone play on each of my other senses.

\r\n\r\n

Particularly the hot, dry dust—move anything and it is there. Following a summer rainstorm across the high desert, it changes into something sweeter—breathe it in deep.

\r\n\r\n

The large sheet-metal door slides to the right with resistance, breaking the silence of the land. The smell of sage and juniper rises from the desert, a reminder of recent rain. The horizon looking north toward Colorado and the La Plata Mountains retains its blue-gray demeanor. Late-afternoon sun shines brightly upon my grandfather’s Stetson, a light straw affair, not nearly as dilapidated as the one I last saw him wearing. As he steps into the shadows of the workshop, he pushes the hat back on his forehead, revealing wisps of thinning gray hair above his weathered ears. Pearl snaps catch window light on a cuff of thin flannel material, signature western wear.

\r\n\r\n

Shelves climb to the ceiling on either side of us. He reaches for a few stones, newly cut and polished, and spits on his thumb to better wipe the dust away, revealing shimmering quartz surfaces that he holds between two worn fingers. His pinkie is missing, lost years ago in a car wreck while serving in the military. Filtered light catches the reflection of the smooth rock. The dust stirred by our presence stands in the air like a heavy beam caught in the sunlight. Tires and tools are stacked over and under decaying boxes of oily cardboard. The air smells of grease. A large industrial metal lathe sits to my left; I focus my eyes on the rusting thermostat, which once advertised Dr Pepper. Nearby, an old Coke bottle sits on its side amid other windowsill clutter. Grandpa is searching for something.

\r\n\r\n

“See if you can pull down that box,” he demands, pointing a crooked finger above my head. It’s full of wooden containers, dated by their thick lacquer finish. He hands me one, a keepsake.

\r\n\r\n

He pulls an old stool from somewhere, collecting his thoughts as he exhales. I take a few photos, realizing how out of place the Nikon seems in this antiquated reality. A workshop filled with tools, equipment, and possibility. Dated. I feel a deep sadness for my grandfather, his way of life on the brink of disappearance.

\r\n\r\n

I let the camera rest as the old man shuffles outside. “Well,” he sighs, “we best be getting on. Dinner’ll be ready ’fore you know it. Give me a hand with this door.” ✜

","teaser_raw":"

This portrait of my grandfather, James W. Shockley, is one of the images I hold most dear from my personal project about the American West. I made this photograph a number of years ago in my

","version_id":"59f8ebb3648901d6cd725da3","author":{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f1e3","blog":"magazine","name":"Jeremy Wade Shockley","_name_sort":"jeremy wade shockley","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.314Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.319Z","_totalPosts":1,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f1e3","title":"Jeremy Wade Shockley","slug":"jeremy-wade-shockley","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/jeremy-wade-shockley/58b4b2404c2774661570f1e3/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/jeremy-wade-shockley/58b4b2404c2774661570f1e3/#comments","totalPosts":1},"categories":[{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f30e","blog":"magazine","title":"Only in NM","_title_sort":"only in nm","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.600Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.606Z","_totalPosts":25,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f30e","slug":"only-in-nm","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/only-in-nm/58b4b2404c2774661570f30e/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/only-in-nm/58b4b2404c2774661570f30e/#comments","totalPosts":25},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed","blog":"magazine","title":"March 2014","_title_sort":"march 2014","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.568Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.575Z","_totalPosts":19,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed","slug":"march-2014","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed/#comments","totalPosts":19}],"image":{"_id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c4","legacy_id":"85190","title":"Main","created":"2014-03-04T16:01:02.000Z","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:08.176Z","credits":"Henry Lopez","content_owner":"magazine","tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"title_sort":"main","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_5ee72e7f-9b2d-4e0d-863c-72afae58e61b","version":1488237128,"signature":"e5112ae4a47beeafbab17ef19157bf6e2506e5c6","width":490,"height":393,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-02-27T23:12:08.000Z","bytes":26186,"type":"upload","etag":"4527c0fe20099c529e5a1399e6c4d2c5","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237128/clients/newmexico/main_5ee72e7f-9b2d-4e0d-863c-72afae58e61b.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237128/clients/newmexico/main_5ee72e7f-9b2d-4e0d-863c-72afae58e61b.jpg","original_filename":"main"},"deleted":false,"id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c4","type":"image","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_5ee72e7f-9b2d-4e0d-863c-72afae58e61b"}},"inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Main"},"teaser":"

This portrait of my grandfather, James W. Shockley, is one of the images I hold most dear from my personal project about the American West. I made this photograph a number of years ago in my

","description":"This portrait of my grandfather, James W. Shockley, is one of the images I hold most dear from my personal project about the American West. I made this photograph a number of years ago in my grandfather’s workshop, outside of Farmington. The place remains almost unchanged since my youth, and is such a central part of my early childhood memories that the visuals alone play on each of my other senses. Particularly the hot, dry dust—move anything and it is there. Following a summer rainstorm across the high desert, it changes into something sweeter—breathe it in deep. The large sheet-metal door slides to the right with resistance, breaking the silence of the land. The smell of sage and juniper rises from the desert, a reminder of recent rain. The horizon looking north toward Colorado and the La Plata Mountains retains its blue-gray demeanor. Late-afternoon sun shines brightly upon my grandfather’s Stetson, a light straw affair, not nearly as dilapidated as the one I last saw him wearing. As he steps into the shadows of the workshop, he pushes the hat back on his forehead, revealing wisps of thinning gray hair above his weathered ears. Pearl snaps catch window light on a cuff of thin flannel material, signature western wear. Shelves climb to the ceiling on either side of us. He reaches for a few stones, newly cut and polished, and spits on his thumb to better wipe the dust away, revealing shimmering quartz surfaces that he holds between two worn fingers. His pinkie is missing, lost years ago in a car wreck while serving in the military. Filtered light catches the reflection of the smooth rock. The dust stirred by our presence stands in the air like a heavy beam caught in the sunlight. Tires and tools are stacked over and under decaying boxes of oily cardboard. The air smells of grease. A large industrial metal lathe sits to my left; I focus my eyes on the rusting thermostat, which once advertised Dr Pepper. Nearby, an old Coke bottle sits on its side amid other windowsill clutter. Grandpa is searching for something. “See if you can pull down that box,” he demands, pointing a crooked finger above my head. It’s full of wooden containers, dated by their thick lacquer finish. He hands me one, a keepsake. He pulls an old stool from somewhere, collecting his thoughts as he exhales. I take a few photos, realizing how out of place the Nikon seems in this antiquated reality. A workshop filled with tools, equipment, and possibility. Dated. I feel a deep sadness for my grandfather, his way of life on the brink of disappearance. I let the camera rest as the old man shuffles outside. “Well,” he sighs, “we best be getting on. Dinner’ll be ready ’fore you know it. Give me a hand with this door.” ✜","id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f959","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/my-grandfather-dub-85188/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/my-grandfather-dub-85188/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/my-grandfather-dub-85188/","metaTitle":"My Grandfather “Dub”","metaDescription":"

This portrait of my grandfather, James W. Shockley, is one of the images I hold most dear from my personal project about the American West. I made this photograph a number of years ago in my

","cleanDescription":"This portrait of my grandfather, James W. Shockley, is one of the images I hold most dear from my personal project about the American West. I made this photograph a number of years ago in my grandfather’s workshop, outside of Farmington. The place remains almost unchanged since my youth, and is such a central part of my early childhood memories that the visuals alone play on each of my other senses. Particularly the hot, dry dust—move anything and it is there. Following a summer rainstorm across the high desert, it changes into something sweeter—breathe it in deep. The large sheet-metal door slides to the right with resistance, breaking the silence of the land. The smell of sage and juniper rises from the desert, a reminder of recent rain. The horizon looking north toward Colorado and the La Plata Mountains retains its blue-gray demeanor. Late-afternoon sun shines brightly upon my grandfather’s Stetson, a light straw affair, not nearly as dilapidated as the one I last saw him wearing. As he steps into the shadows of the workshop, he pushes the hat back on his forehead, revealing wisps of thinning gray hair above his weathered ears. Pearl snaps catch window light on a cuff of thin flannel material, signature western wear. Shelves climb to the ceiling on either side of us. He reaches for a few stones, newly cut and polished, and spits on his thumb to better wipe the dust away, revealing shimmering quartz surfaces that he holds between two worn fingers. His pinkie is missing, lost years ago in a car wreck while serving in the military. Filtered light catches the reflection of the smooth rock. The dust stirred by our presence stands in the air like a heavy beam caught in the sunlight. Tires and tools are stacked over and under decaying boxes of oily cardboard. The air smells of grease. A large industrial metal lathe sits to my left; I focus my eyes on the rusting thermostat, which once advertised Dr Pepper. Nearby, an old Coke bottle sits on its side amid other windowsill clutter. Grandpa is searching for something. “See if you can pull down that box,” he demands, pointing a crooked finger above my head. It’s full of wooden containers, dated by their thick lacquer finish. He hands me one, a keepsake. He pulls an old stool from somewhere, collecting his thoughts as he exhales. I take a few photos, realizing how out of place the Nikon seems in this antiquated reality. A workshop filled with tools, equipment, and possibility. Dated. I feel a deep sadness for my grandfather, his way of life on the brink of disappearance. I let the camera rest as the old man shuffles outside. “Well,” he sighs, “we best be getting on. Dinner’ll be ready ’fore you know it. Give me a hand with this door.” ✜","publish_start_moment":"2014-03-04T15:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-18T03:21:11.954Z"},{"_id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f958","author_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f240","title":"Against All Odds","slug":"mine-that-bird-85174","image_id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c1","publish_start":"2014-03-03T13:00:00.000Z","enable_comments":true,"categories_ids":["58b4b2404c2774661570f2f3","58c839601f16f9392cf09a98","58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed"],"tags_ids":["59090d8ee1efff4c9916fac2","59090c80e1efff4c9916fa05","59090d59e1efff4c9916fa9b"],"cms_tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"enabled":true,"custom_tagline":"The made-in-NM film 50 to 1 honors Mine That Bird, an unlikely Kentucky Derby winner trained in Roswell. This month, the KiMo Theatre hosts the world premiere.","created":"2014-03-03T13:25:43.000Z","legacy_id":"85174","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"against all odds","updated":"2017-10-31T21:31:31.509Z","active":true,"description_raw":"
NEED TO KNOW
\r\nThe 50 to 1 world premiere takes place at the KiMo Theatre, in Albuquerque, March 19 (421 Central Ave N.W. 505-768-3522; kimotickets .com). The film moves to theaters throughout New Mexico March 21 and to other states beginning April 4. For theater locations, to view the trailer, and for more information, visit 50to1themovie.com.
\r\n
\r\nSee the movie trailer.
\r\n\r\n

On May 9, 2009, at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky, a feisty Canadian gelding with outturned legs named Mine That Bird came from 30 lengths behind to nail the second-biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history. At 50-to-1 odds, Mine That Bird crossed the finish line nearly seven lengths ahead of 18 other horses, stunning a crowd of more than 150,000 spectators and an international television audience.

\r\n\r\n

It’s no wonder Mine That Bird’s monumental Run for the Roses caught the eye of veteran filmmaker Jim Wilson (producer of the blockbuster hits Dances with Wolves and The Bodyguard), a longtime racehorse owner who for years had been looking for a horse story worthy of a film adaptation. “I was absolutely blown away by the victory,” Wilson says, “and I knew I had to find out more about the horse and the people behind him. Were they real characters with an interesting background? Was there more to this than an unexpected win? I’m a guy who likes underdog stories; I had to find out more.”

\r\n\r\n

That meant traveling to other horse races around the country and to New Mexico, where Mine That Bird owners Mark Allen (played by Christian Kane) and Leonard “Doc” Blach (played by William Devane) had trained the horse on their ranches in Roswell just before the 2009 Derby. “That horse had a prior race history with owners in different places before landing in Roswell,” Wilson says, “but the heart of this film, 50 to 1, is steeped in New Mexico ranching and horse-racing life.”

\r\n\r\n

When Wilson traveled to New Mexico and met trainer Chip Woolley (played by Skeet Ulrich), who conditioned Mine That Bird for the Derby, he found a nononsense, hands-on trainer with a big heart who took great care of his horses. “Here’s a cowboy who, while he was recovering from a motorcycle accident and nursing a broken leg, drove this horse all the way from Roswell to Louisville, Kentucky, for the Derby. Chip, Mark, and Doc? They’re all tough cusses, but that’s what constitutes the spirit of this film: going for broke when it seems like an impossible dream.”

\r\n\r\n

Wilson, who also serves as 50 to 1’s director and co-screenwriter along with writer Faith Conroy (a script supervisor on the made-in-NM Thor), was no stranger to the Land of Enchantment when the project began to take shape. The state’s landscapes and buildings served as the backdrop for two of Wilson’s prior production credits: Wyatt Earp (1994) and Swing Vote (2008), both featuring Dances with Wolves star Kevin Costner. So Wilson already had a feel for the terrain and seasonal weather patterns throughout the state, and in order to maintain the authenticity of the story, he says, “no other locations would do. Chip and the others took me around and showed me Mine That Bird’s life up to that point, so we really got a feel for the places and people involved in the story. New Mexico sort of becomes a character of its own in this one.”

\r\n\r\n

A majority of the film was shot in New Mexico between September and October of 2012, and the crew consisted of more than 90 percent New Mexico talent, according to Wilson. The production also employed at least 30 New Mexico actors and more than 550 New Mexico extras. “We knocked out roughly 35 to 40 locations in 40 days,” Wilson says, “including spots in Las Cruces, Sunland Park, Tijeras, Corrales, Bernalillo, Albuquerque, Edgewood, and Santa Fe.”

\r\n\r\n


\r\nRIGHT MEN FOR THE JOB

\r\n\r\n

 

\r\n\r\n

Wilson isn’t comfortable directing unless he and his crew are uniquely familiar with a film’s subject matter, which posed a few challenges when it came to casting 50 to 1. “I’ve been racing horses for 25 years,” he explains, “and some horses can get a oneoff win with fairly bad odds—especially if it races enough. This situation was different. This was a fish-out-of-water story, and the cast’s performance—especially around horses—had to reflect that perfectly.”

\r\n\r\n

 

\r\n\r\n

While Wilson was scouting locations in New Mexico, time was running out to cast the role of trainer and Ratón native Chip Woolley. “So there I am,” Wilson explains, laughing, “sitting in my hotel room somewhere in New Mexico, and I get an e-mail from Skeet Ulrich [Scream, Jericho, the Into the West television miniseries]. It’s his audition tape. He had converted his garage into a mini film set, put on a cowboy hat and a fake mustache, and just went for it. We practically hired him on the spot. He brought dimensions to the Chip role that I still marvel at. He was a natural.”

\r\n\r\n

The real Woolley grew up around horse tracks in the Texas panhandle and started riding bareback broncos in local rodeos as soon as he was old enough. But horse training was his true calling, and the New Mexico racing circuit soon became his backyard. He eventually settled in Bloomfield, in the northwest part of the state.

\r\n\r\n

“You know who wins the Kentucky Derby every year?” Woolley asks, deadpan, during a phone interview. “The man who brings the best horse that day. And for one day, it was me. I was born and raised on a ranch in the middle of nowhere and I fit in the rodeo world more than I do the fancy racing one. But after spending enough time exercising horses, I felt that racing was where I belonged. Over time, it just became my profession, and it paid off—all the marbles in one run.”

\r\n\r\n

Ulrich, nephew of NASCAR living legend Ricky Rudd, is no stranger to race culture, albeit one with a different kind of horsepower. The need for speed and a competitive spirit weren’t the only things he and Woolley had in common, though. “We both love mathematics intensely,” Ulrich says, “and Chip’s a horse-racing scientist to the nth degree. We spent a lot of time together in New Mexico, and it was amazing to investigate Chip’s motivations and desires when it came to winning the race. There’s more to this guy than meets the eye, is the lesson here. Getting to the top of one’s profession—despite every obstacle imaginable being there almost as if by decree—is never a dull ride.”

\r\n\r\n

Casting the jockey was a no-brainer for Wilson. He wanted, and got, the rider who took Mine That Bird across the finish line in Louisville in 2009: Cajun horse-racing veteran Calvin Borel, who also earned the Kentucky Derby Gold Cup in 2007 and 2010. “On this point, we were accepting no imitations,” Wilson says, “and it just worked out that Calvin had the time and wanted to participate in the project. We shot the race scenes at Churchill for authenticity, and Calvin’s participation made them that much more genuine.”

\r\n\r\n

After the Derby win, Mine That Bird continued racing that year in pursuit of the Triple Crown. He finished second in the Preakness Stakes and third in the Belmont Stakes. He was retired from racing in November 2010 and now lives at coowner Mark Allen’s Double Eagle Ranch, in Roswell. He was played in the film by a three-and-a-half-year-old Canadian horse, named Sunday Rest.

\r\n\r\n

The film is being distributed by Wilson’s own Ten Furlongs LLC production company. On March 19, 50 to 1 will get its world-premiere screening at the KiMo Theatre, in Albuquerque, and on March 21 the film will be released to more theaters in New Mexico. Wilson plans to roll out the film state by state. And he’s promoting 50 to 1 in a most unorthodox way.

\r\n\r\n

“We’re not doing festivals, really,” he says. “Instead we’re wrapping a tour bus with 50 to 1 imagery, filling it with cast members and other people who worked on the film, and going state to state, spreading the word one town at a time. We’re starting in New Mexico.” ✜

\r\n\r\n
","teaser_raw":"
NEED TO KNOW
The 50 to 1 world premiere takes place at the KiMo Theatre, in Albuquerque, March 19 (421 Central Ave N.W. 505-768-3522; kimotickets .com). The film moves to theaters throughout New
","version_id":"59f8ebb3648901d6cd725de1","author":{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f240","blog":"magazine","name":"Rob DeWalt","_name_sort":"rob dewalt","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.394Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.405Z","_totalPosts":22,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f240","title":"Rob DeWalt","slug":"rob-dewalt","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/rob-dewalt/58b4b2404c2774661570f240/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/author/rob-dewalt/58b4b2404c2774661570f240/#comments","totalPosts":22},"categories":[{"_id":"58c839601f16f9392cf09a98","title":"Culture","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"culture","updated":"2017-03-14T18:41:36.747Z","created":"2017-03-14T18:41:36.748Z","_totalPosts":218,"id":"58c839601f16f9392cf09a98","slug":"culture","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/culture/58c839601f16f9392cf09a98/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/culture/58c839601f16f9392cf09a98/#comments","totalPosts":218},{"_id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed","blog":"magazine","title":"March 2014","_title_sort":"march 2014","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.568Z","created":"2017-02-27T23:12:00.575Z","_totalPosts":19,"id":"58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed","slug":"march-2014","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/category/march-2014/58b4b2404c2774661570f2ed/#comments","totalPosts":19}],"image":{"_id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c1","legacy_id":"85186","title":"Main -movies","created":"2014-03-03T17:49:34.000Z","updated":"2017-02-27T23:12:08.173Z","credits":"Henry Lopez","content_owner":"magazine","tags_ids":["58b061ec6a2b0936c34a23ea"],"title_sort":"main -movies","resource_raw":{"public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_movies_4b69aa25-92fa-45e6-a152-692d762c98c2","version":1488237128,"signature":"b18bcb7fc2892d15e2600a74166917f857413951","width":490,"height":366,"format":"jpg","resource_type":"image","created_at":"2017-02-27T23:12:08.000Z","bytes":14852,"type":"upload","etag":"0aacbdc75acb33193d1c1d7cdba771c1","url":"http://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237128/clients/newmexico/main_movies_4b69aa25-92fa-45e6-a152-692d762c98c2.jpg","secure_url":"https://res.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1488237128/clients/newmexico/main_movies_4b69aa25-92fa-45e6-a152-692d762c98c2.jpg","original_filename":"main-movies"},"deleted":false,"id":"58b4b2494c2774661570f4c1","type":"image","resource":{"raw":{"resource_type":"image","format":"jpg","public_id":"clients/newmexico/main_movies_4b69aa25-92fa-45e6-a152-692d762c98c2"}},"inAssetRequest":false,"alt_text":"Main -movies"},"tags":[{"_id":"59090d8ee1efff4c9916fac2","title":"Movies","blog":"magazine","_title_sort":"movies","updated":"2017-05-02T22:51:58.619Z","created":"2017-05-02T22:51:58.619Z","_totalPosts":8,"id":"59090d8ee1efff4c9916fac2","slug":"movies","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/movies/59090d8ee1efff4c9916fac2/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/tag/movies/59090d8ee1efff4c9916fac2/#comments","totalPosts":8}],"teaser":"
NEED TO KNOW
The 50 to 1 world premiere takes place at the KiMo Theatre, in Albuquerque, March 19 (421 Central Ave N.W. 505-768-3522; kimotickets .com). The film moves to theaters throughout New
","description":"NEED TO KNOW The 50 to 1 world premiere takes place at the KiMo Theatre, in Albuquerque, March 19 (421 Central Ave N.W. 505-768-3522; kimotickets .com ). The film moves to theaters throughout New Mexico March 21 and to other states beginning April 4. For theater locations, to view the trailer, and for more information, visit 50to1themovie.com . See the movie trailer. On May 9, 2009, at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky, a feisty Canadian gelding with outturned legs named Mine That Bird came from 30 lengths behind to nail the second-biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history. At 50-to-1 odds, Mine That Bird crossed the finish line nearly seven lengths ahead of 18 other horses, stunning a crowd of more than 150,000 spectators and an international television audience. It’s no wonder Mine That Bird’s monumental Run for the Roses caught the eye of veteran filmmaker Jim Wilson (producer of the blockbuster hits Dances with Wolves and The Bodyguard ), a longtime racehorse owner who for years had been looking for a horse story worthy of a film adaptation. “I was absolutely blown away by the victory,” Wilson says, “and I knew I had to find out more about the horse and the people behind him. Were they real characters with an interesting background? Was there more to this than an unexpected win? I’m a guy who likes underdog stories; I had to find out more.” That meant traveling to other horse races around the country and to New Mexico, where Mine That Bird owners Mark Allen (played by Christian Kane) and Leonard “Doc” Blach (played by William Devane) had trained the horse on their ranches in Roswell just before the 2009 Derby. “That horse had a prior race history with owners in different places before landing in Roswell,” Wilson says, “but the heart of this film, 50 to 1, is steeped in New Mexico ranching and horse-racing life.” When Wilson traveled to New Mexico and met trainer Chip Woolley (played by Skeet Ulrich), who conditioned Mine That Bird for the Derby, he found a nononsense, hands-on trainer with a big heart who took great care of his horses. “Here’s a cowboy who, while he was recovering from a motorcycle accident and nursing a broken leg, drove this horse all the way from Roswell to Louisville, Kentucky, for the Derby. Chip, Mark, and Doc? They’re all tough cusses, but that’s what constitutes the spirit of this film: going for broke when it seems like an impossible dream.” Wilson, who also serves as 50 to 1 ’s director and co-screenwriter along with writer Faith Conroy (a script supervisor on the made-in-NM Thor ), was no stranger to the Land of Enchantment when the project began to take shape. The state’s landscapes and buildings served as the backdrop for two of Wilson’s prior production credits: Wyatt Earp (1994) and Swing Vote (2008), both featuring Dances with Wolves star Kevin Costner. So Wilson already had a feel for the terrain and seasonal weather patterns throughout the state, and in order to maintain the authenticity of the story, he says, “no other locations would do. Chip and the others took me around and showed me Mine That Bird’s life up to that point, so we really got a feel for the places and people involved in the story. New Mexico sort of becomes a character of its own in this one.” A majority of the film was shot in New Mexico between September and October of 2012, and the crew consisted of more than 90 percent New Mexico talent, according to Wilson. The production also employed at least 30 New Mexico actors and more than 550 New Mexico extras. “We knocked out roughly 35 to 40 locations in 40 days,” Wilson says, “including spots in Las Cruces, Sunland Park, Tijeras, Corrales, Bernalillo, Albuquerque, Edgewood, and Santa Fe.” RIGHT MEN FOR THE JOB   Wilson isn’t comfortable directing unless he and his crew are uniquely familiar with a film’s subject matter, which posed a few challenges when it came to casting 50 to 1 . “I’ve been racing horses for 25 years,” he explains, “and some horses can get a oneoff win with fairly bad odds—especially if it races enough. This situation was different. This was a fish-out-of-water story, and the cast’s performance—especially around horses—had to reflect that perfectly.”   While Wilson was scouting locations in New Mexico, time was running out to cast the role of trainer and Ratón native Chip Woolley. “So there I am,” Wilson explains, laughing, “sitting in my hotel room somewhere in New Mexico, and I get an e-mail from Skeet Ulrich [ Scream , Jericho , the Into the West television miniseries]. It’s his audition tape. He had converted his garage into a mini film set, put on a cowboy hat and a fake mustache, and just went for it. We practically hired him on the spot. He brought dimensions to the Chip role that I still marvel at. He was a natural.” The real Woolley grew up around horse tracks in the Texas panhandle and started riding bareback broncos in local rodeos as soon as he was old enough. But horse training was his true calling, and the New Mexico racing circuit soon became his backyard. He eventually settled in Bloomfield, in the northwest part of the state. “You know who wins the Kentucky Derby every year?” Woolley asks, deadpan, during a phone interview. “The man who brings the best horse that day. And for one day, it was me. I was born and raised on a ranch in the middle of nowhere and I fit in the rodeo world more than I do the fancy racing one. But after spending enough time exercising horses, I felt that racing was where I belonged. Over time, it just became my profession, and it paid off—all the marbles in one run.” Ulrich, nephew of NASCAR living legend Ricky Rudd, is no stranger to race culture, albeit one with a different kind of horsepower. The need for speed and a competitive spirit weren’t the only things he and Woolley had in common, though. “We both love mathematics intensely,” Ulrich says, “and Chip’s a horse-racing scientist to the nth degree. We spent a lot of time together in New Mexico, and it was amazing to investigate Chip’s motivations and desires when it came to winning the race. There’s more to this guy than meets the eye, is the lesson here. Getting to the top of one’s profession—despite every obstacle imaginable being there almost as if by decree—is never a dull ride.” Casting the jockey was a no-brainer for Wilson. He wanted, and got, the rider who took Mine That Bird across the finish line in Louisville in 2009: Cajun horse-racing veteran Calvin Borel, who also earned the Kentucky Derby Gold Cup in 2007 and 2010. “On this point, we were accepting no imitations,” Wilson says, “and it just worked out that Calvin had the time and wanted to participate in the project. We shot the race scenes at Churchill for authenticity, and Calvin’s participation made them that much more genuine.” After the Derby win, Mine That Bird continued racing that year in pursuit of the Triple Crown. He finished second in the Preakness Stakes and third in the Belmont Stakes. He was retired from racing in November 2010 and now lives at coowner Mark Allen’s Double Eagle Ranch, in Roswell. He was played in the film by a three-and-a-half-year-old Canadian horse, named Sunday Rest. The film is being distributed by Wilson’s own Ten Furlongs LLC production company. On March 19, 50 to 1 will get its world-premiere screening at the KiMo Theatre, in Albuquerque, and on March 21 the film will be released to more theaters in New Mexico. Wilson plans to roll out the film state by state. And he’s promoting 50 to 1 in a most unorthodox way. “We’re not doing festivals, really,” he says. “Instead we’re wrapping a tour bus with 50 to 1 imagery, filling it with cast members and other people who worked on the film, and going state to state, spreading the word one town at a time. We’re starting in New Mexico.” ✜","id":"58b4b2804c2774661570f958","url":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/mine-that-bird-85174/","commentsUrl":"/nmmagazine/articles/post/mine-that-bird-85174/#comments","absoluteUrl":"https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/mine-that-bird-85174/","metaTitle":"Against All Odds","metaDescription":"
NEED TO KNOW
The 50 to 1 world premiere takes place at the KiMo Theatre, in Albuquerque, March 19 (421 Central Ave N.W. 505-768-3522; kimotickets .com). The film moves to theaters throughout New
","cleanDescription":"NEED TO KNOW The 50 to 1 world premiere takes place at the KiMo Theatre, in Albuquerque, March 19 (421 Central Ave N.W. 505-768-3522; kimotickets .com ). The film moves to theaters throughout New Mexico March 21 and to other states beginning April 4. For theater locations, to view the trailer, and for more information, visit 50to1themovie.com . See the movie trailer. On May 9, 2009, at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky, a feisty Canadian gelding with outturned legs named Mine That Bird came from 30 lengths behind to nail the second-biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history. At 50-to-1 odds, Mine That Bird crossed the finish line nearly seven lengths ahead of 18 other horses, stunning a crowd of more than 150,000 spectators and an international television audience. It’s no wonder Mine That Bird’s monumental Run for the Roses caught the eye of veteran filmmaker Jim Wilson (producer of the blockbuster hits Dances with Wolves and The Bodyguard ), a longtime racehorse owner who for years had been looking for a horse story worthy of a film adaptation. “I was absolutely blown away by the victory,” Wilson says, “and I knew I had to find out more about the horse and the people behind him. Were they real characters with an interesting background? Was there more to this than an unexpected win? I’m a guy who likes underdog stories; I had to find out more.” That meant traveling to other horse races around the country and to New Mexico, where Mine That Bird owners Mark Allen (played by Christian Kane) and Leonard “Doc” Blach (played by William Devane) had trained the horse on their ranches in Roswell just before the 2009 Derby. “That horse had a prior race history with owners in different places before landing in Roswell,” Wilson says, “but the heart of this film, 50 to 1, is steeped in New Mexico ranching and horse-racing life.” When Wilson traveled to New Mexico and met trainer Chip Woolley (played by Skeet Ulrich), who conditioned Mine That Bird for the Derby, he found a nononsense, hands-on trainer with a big heart who took great care of his horses. “Here’s a cowboy who, while he was recovering from a motorcycle accident and nursing a broken leg, drove this horse all the way from Roswell to Louisville, Kentucky, for the Derby. Chip, Mark, and Doc? They’re all tough cusses, but that’s what constitutes the spirit of this film: going for broke when it seems like an impossible dream.” Wilson, who also serves as 50 to 1 ’s director and co-screenwriter along with writer Faith Conroy (a script supervisor on the made-in-NM Thor ), was no stranger to the Land of Enchantment when the project began to take shape. The state’s landscapes and buildings served as the backdrop for two of Wilson’s prior production credits: Wyatt Earp (1994) and Swing Vote (2008), both featuring Dances with Wolves star Kevin Costner. So Wilson already had a feel for the terrain and seasonal weather patterns throughout the state, and in order to maintain the authenticity of the story, he says, “no other locations would do. Chip and the others took me around and showed me Mine That Bird’s life up to that point, so we really got a feel for the places and people involved in the story. New Mexico sort of becomes a character of its own in this one.” A majority of the film was shot in New Mexico between September and October of 2012, and the crew consisted of more than 90 percent New Mexico talent, according to Wilson. The production also employed at least 30 New Mexico actors and more than 550 New Mexico extras. “We knocked out roughly 35 to 40 locations in 40 days,” Wilson says, “including spots in Las Cruces, Sunland Park, Tijeras, Corrales, Bernalillo, Albuquerque, Edgewood, and Santa Fe.” RIGHT MEN FOR THE JOB   Wilson isn’t comfortable directing unless he and his crew are uniquely familiar with a film’s subject matter, which posed a few challenges when it came to casting 50 to 1 . “I’ve been racing horses for 25 years,” he explains, “and some horses can get a oneoff win with fairly bad odds—especially if it races enough. This situation was different. This was a fish-out-of-water story, and the cast’s performance—especially around horses—had to reflect that perfectly.”   While Wilson was scouting locations in New Mexico, time was running out to cast the role of trainer and Ratón native Chip Woolley. “So there I am,” Wilson explains, laughing, “sitting in my hotel room somewhere in New Mexico, and I get an e-mail from Skeet Ulrich [ Scream , Jericho , the Into the West television miniseries]. It’s his audition tape. He had converted his garage into a mini film set, put on a cowboy hat and a fake mustache, and just went for it. We practically hired him on the spot. He brought dimensions to the Chip role that I still marvel at. He was a natural.” The real Woolley grew up around horse tracks in the Texas panhandle and started riding bareback broncos in local rodeos as soon as he was old enough. But horse training was his true calling, and the New Mexico racing circuit soon became his backyard. He eventually settled in Bloomfield, in the northwest part of the state. “You know who wins the Kentucky Derby every year?” Woolley asks, deadpan, during a phone interview. “The man who brings the best horse that day. And for one day, it was me. I was born and raised on a ranch in the middle of nowhere and I fit in the rodeo world more than I do the fancy racing one. But after spending enough time exercising horses, I felt that racing was where I belonged. Over time, it just became my profession, and it paid off—all the marbles in one run.” Ulrich, nephew of NASCAR living legend Ricky Rudd, is no stranger to race culture, albeit one with a different kind of horsepower. The need for speed and a competitive spirit weren’t the only things he and Woolley had in common, though. “We both love mathematics intensely,” Ulrich says, “and Chip’s a horse-racing scientist to the nth degree. We spent a lot of time together in New Mexico, and it was amazing to investigate Chip’s motivations and desires when it came to winning the race. There’s more to this guy than meets the eye, is the lesson here. Getting to the top of one’s profession—despite every obstacle imaginable being there almost as if by decree—is never a dull ride.” Casting the jockey was a no-brainer for Wilson. He wanted, and got, the rider who took Mine That Bird across the finish line in Louisville in 2009: Cajun horse-racing veteran Calvin Borel, who also earned the Kentucky Derby Gold Cup in 2007 and 2010. “On this point, we were accepting no imitations,” Wilson says, “and it just worked out that Calvin had the time and wanted to participate in the project. We shot the race scenes at Churchill for authenticity, and Calvin’s participation made them that much more genuine.” After the Derby win, Mine That Bird continued racing that year in pursuit of the Triple Crown. He finished second in the Preakness Stakes and third in the Belmont Stakes. He was retired from racing in November 2010 and now lives at coowner Mark Allen’s Double Eagle Ranch, in Roswell. He was played in the film by a three-and-a-half-year-old Canadian horse, named Sunday Rest. The film is being distributed by Wilson’s own Ten Furlongs LLC production company. On March 19, 50 to 1 will get its world-premiere screening at the KiMo Theatre, in Albuquerque, and on March 21 the film will be released to more theaters in New Mexico. Wilson plans to roll out the film state by state. And he’s promoting 50 to 1 in a most unorthodox way. “We’re not doing festivals, really,” he says. “Instead we’re wrapping a tour bus with 50 to 1 imagery, filling it with cast members and other people who worked on the film, and going state to state, spreading the word one town at a time. We’re starting in New Mexico.” ✜","publish_start_moment":"2014-03-03T13:00:00.000Z","publish_end_moment":"2017-12-18T03:21:11.954Z"}]});

Posts from March 2014