Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 17, Sunday, 9/22/13 - Roswell to Canyon TX

We did a lot more than planned today.  After a long drive across pretty-much-empty prairie, we arrived at Ft. Sumner, where we toured the Bosque Redondo Memorial.  This New Mexico State Historic Site (formerly called a State Monument) commemorates the forced imprisonment of the Mescalero Apaches and Navajos at a featureless flood plain with bad water, little wood, and inadequate support.  Navajo call this the Long Walk, similar to the Trail of Tears when the eastern tribes were expelled to what's now Oklahoma.  Col. Kit Carson, previously a friend of the Navajo, under threat of court-martial, was ordered to round them up from their homes and march them about 500 miles - in winter, naturally.  The Mescaleros, only about 350 anyway, managed to escape, but over 8000 Navajo were held until the government determined there was no gold or silver in their homeland and they promised not to raid any more.  Then they walked home, around late 1868.  The folks at the memorial were very helpful, but new exhibits aren't in place in their new addition.

Then it was on to Clovis, where we visited  Blackwater Draw National Archaeological Site.  This is where the famous Clovis Point was discovered in conjunction with the bones of extinct animals, and pushed the timeline for human habitation of North America back a couple of thousand years, to  12-14,000 years ago.  The site is unusual in that it holds the record of many millenia of different cultures occupying and hunting the springs there.  There's even a partially-excavated bone bed with a building placed over it allowing viewing in situ.  Staff again was very friendly & helpful.

We boogied off to Canyon, where we'll spend the night.  We have changed our plans and will not stop at Enid or Bartlesville, but will go to El Dorado KS tomorrow and home fairly early Tuesday afternoon.

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