Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Cimarron & Eagle Nest, New Mexico

Heading for Cimarron, we took I25 south then at exit 446 we joined highway 64, on a chilly, grey morning it seemed a very long desolate drive to Cimarron. 
Luckily as we arrived in Cimarron the clouds parted and the sun came out.

After a chat with the friendly lady in the visitor centre, we decided we’d drive up Cimarron Canyon before exploring the town.   It turned out to be a good decision as it’s a lovely drive.

The easternmost range of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, the Cimarron Mountains are the boundary between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains.

The Cimarron River cuts through the igneous rock known as sill to produce the amazing cliffs of the Palisades Sill.

Clear Creek was a very pretty spot.
We’d originally decided to turnaround at Ute Park, but the drive was so pretty we decided we’d carry on to Eagle Nest.  We were glad we did, it’s a lovely spot.
Eagle Nest was the place where members of several Indian tribes were said to have come to collect eagle feathers.
Prior to 1919 Charles Springer acquired land and built a dam for irrigation. The dam has a capacity of 78,000 acre feet and provides irrigation for lots of farms in Eastern New Mexico.  

We were tempted to carry on to Red River, but as time was getting on we retraced our steps back to Cimarron.
At an elevation of 6,427 ft Cimarron is on the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail and was settled in 1844.   In 1857 it became the headquarters of the famous Maxwell Land Grant that covered almost 2,000,000 million acres and was also home to Lucien B Maxwell.   From 1862 to 1876 an agency for Utes and Jicarilla Apache was also located in Cimarron.
We stopped at the old fashioned coffee bar in the Cimarron Art Gallery for coffee and enjoyed at chat with the lady in the store.

Our next stop was the Aztec Grist Mill.   Construction of the mill by Lucien B Maxwell started in 1860 and was finished in 1864 at a cost of $48,000.00.

The mill was capable of grinding 15,000 lbs of wheat a day, producing 44 barrels of flour.  In 1869 the miller, Isaah Rinehart estimated that the mill was making a profit of over $24,000.00.
Our final stop was at the historic St James Hotel. 

Many famous and infamous people including, Jesse James, Bat Masterson and Zane Grey have stayed in the hotel over the years.   If only the walls could talk!

Original room tags.

The lobby area.
Cimarron is a long way from anywhere, but would be a nice place to stay for a few days, hopefully we’ll be back to explore some more.
Have fun, we are!

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