On the Pecos Trail

Posted by on Jul 3, 2013 in road trip | 1 comment

We left Abilene this morning to start the research portion of this little road trip.

The trip from Abilene to Pecos is long and dull and looks something like this:

roadBut we eventually made it. However, both city and river were a bit of a downer.

Pecos and the Pecos River.

Pecos City was originally built on the west bank of the Pecos River, but was later moved about 6 miles farther west due to flooding issues. The town has always had a rough reputation, and from what we saw driving through it in search of the not-very-well-marked West of the Pecos Museum, the town hasn’t changed much. The museum is housed in the Orient Hotel (built in the early 1900s) and a saloon from 1896, and it does have a lot of very interesting exhibits. Just nothing that was from the time period I was researching.










Then there was the Pecos River. The poor river looked nothing like it would have in 1884. Multiple dams upstream have robbed it of much of its former power, and the continuing drought has brought it down to a mere trickle. This is what the once mighty Pecos now looks like:


Certainly doesn’t look like a river to cause dread in the hearts of the cowboys who had to deal with it, nor one to cause a town to move away due to flooding, now does it?

Damming has also … dammed? … my quest to retrace the Pecos/Goodnight-Loving Trail. When the Red Bluff Reservoir was built in the 1930s, it inundated Pope’s Camp and Pope’s Crossing, two very important sites on the trail. Seven Rivers, a wild frontier town just north of Carlsbad suffered the same fate, drowned beneath Brantley Lake. Sigh.

Tonight we’re in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Just south of here is where Oliver Loving was shot by Comanches. He escaped and survived long enough to make it to Fort Sumner, where he died of gangrene. Tomorrow we will explore Carlsbad Caverns, some more of the Pecos Trail around the Black River crossing, and then head north to Fort Sumner and Tucumcari.

Stay tuned for more pics and tidbits as we continue on the Pecos Trail.

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One Comment

  1. Well that is just a bit deflating 🙁

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