Feb 1 - City of Rocks and Native Grafiti

Before heading out on our exploration of the Deming area today we stopped to talk with the manager and fellow camper here at the SKP Dream Catcher RV Park, for a little guidance. We decided that two venues north of Deming sounded interesting... the City of Rocks State Park and a "not-widely-known" collection of native petroglyphs on a chunk of public land.

The City of Rocks State Park is about 30 miles north of Deming... US-180 north to NM-61, then 4 miles northeast to the Park entrance. What we found is a fascinating collection of huge weathered rocks, many standing monoliths, some 40 or more feet high, like a jumbled disorganized Stonehenge. The result of volcanic activity a few years ago (35 million or so), it's an example of nature at work and the variety of what can be produced by natural processes. We walked among the rocks, scrambled to the top of some, tried to get lost in this forest of stone.

That's a campsite there by the tree and picnic table. Might be a problem getting the bus-house
in there.
 There's a campground here too... actually two. One is a more or less a typical RV park-like area where there are 10 sites with varying levels of hook-ups available. Then there are about 40 sites scattered off a loop road that encircles the rock formations. Many of these sites are tucked into the rocks and offer no amenities at all... but are far more interesting and offer a better camping experience than the RV park... as long as you can get by without power. While some of these might work for the big old bus-house, leveling could be a problem and they're really more appropriate for small rigs or tent campers. We agreed we must come back here during our next phase (Sabbatical II) with our down-sized rig.

Heading back toward Deming on US-180, we took a turn to the east on NM-26. At mile marker 5, Green Leaf Mine Road goes off to the north. We took that road. For the most part, this is a two-track single lane dirt road that we were informed would probably pose no problem for our low-clearance front-wheel-drive toad. The information we had was that about 6 or so miles down this road (actually turned out to be almost 10 miles), over a number of berms, a dam, some cattle-guards (zit-zits), an abandoned mine site, and around several blind curves we'd find a primitive parking area next to a hilly outcropping of rocks. Up in those rocks, somewhere, (this is where our information got sketchy), there is a collection of Indian petroglyphs... native graffiti. Our job... find it.

Into the hills we scrambled, tracking what seemed to be various trails or paths that wove among the rocks. There are no signs to guide the search, we simply had to look... which actually added to the experience. We decided to split up and double our efforts, Dar taking one section of rocky hill and me another. But the Indian art revealed itself slowly. You search... and think you see something. But is it man-made or a natural coloration of the rock? Not sure. Suddenly, you see a small one... unmistakable. Then another... and another. Then dozens of them... almost everywhere we looked on that particular part of the hill.

We took dozens of photos and savored the success of our exploration. I can't really add anything about their age, or who might have done them. As usual, my skepticism leads me to think it's possible these objects may not even be what we're led to believe they are. In a few cases we could identify more recent scratchings in the rocks ("Biff loves Betsy 1978") alongside a typical image of a big horn sheep, a circular set of dots, or the image of a bird. Regardless, we found what we set out to find.

By this time it was getting woefully close to "chillin' hour" and we had already scoped out a small local brewpub in downtown Deming (Mimbres Valley Brewing Company) where we might enjoy dinner out tonight. As is our m.o., we took a seat at the bar, ordered a craft beer and a burger apiece, and struck up conversations with some interesting locals who really added to our Deming experience.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: You can find history, adventure, a story... almost anywhere you go... as long as you ask and are willing to search it out.

More pics in our online album soon.


The Deming Museum is a good one. The fort out at Cookes mountain is a neat side trip also.
Nan said…
But, you gave no hints how to find these in the rocks! lol...

Thom Hoch said…
I thought about being more specific, but decided against it. Takes some of the fun and adventure from the experience.

If you want it bad enough... you'll find them.

Slightly Better than Most