Sunday, November 7, 2010
NOT HARRY BELAFONTE'S "KINGSTON"
Perhaps a project for future consideration by The Overestimaters
Fall colors on Percha Creek
11-5-10 Friday. We left our little tool shed of a cabin by Lake Caballo on a cool morning. We rode lonely Hwy 152 toward Kingston, NM, which rests at 6.200 ft in the Black Range Mountains. We encountered such little traffic that Team Bagley was able to ride side-by-side on a few of the flat sections. The operative word is "few" because most of the route entailed climbing today. We were both glad to have granny gears on our bikes and we used them often. It was, however, a beautiful ride. As we climbed through the mountains, we could see distant peaks and at times it felt like we were in a mountainous maze. We climbed one particular spine that gave us a birds eye view of deep narrow valleys below. One could fantasize being a soaring hawk if only our legs weren't burning. We rode beneath blue sky and watchful ravens occasionally broke the silence with their distinctive calls. We stopped in the small village of Hillsboro for lunch and also purchased a giant burrito "to go" so we would have something to eat while overnighting in Kingston at the Black Range Lodge. Kingston was once a silver mining boomtown. In the 1880's, Kingston had the largest population in the New Mexico territory reported to be about 7,500. This did not take into account women, children, and Chinese workers who, at the time, were not considered worthy to be counted. The town had 27 saloons, an opera house, 3 newspapers, and a number of hotels. In 1893 , when the bottom fell out of silver ore, Kingston and other mining towns rapidly lost their populations. Today Kingston has a population of 25 (including women and children). The Lodge dates back to about 1880 when it housed miners and cavalry. Today it is a rambling, eclectic, old western mountain lodge with massive log beams, stone walls, and creaky floors. There are several cats & dogs milling about. Outside is a large pen of chickens guarded by a noisy rooster, various small construction projects are scattered about the premises. After dropping our bags in our room, we spent a bit of time killing flies with a swatter that was conveniently provided. There is a resident ghost referred to as Sam. He was a one-armed bachelor who wandered into Kingston and became the lodge caretaker. He was a hard-drinking, chain-smoking kind of guy who after 20 years there, died in his room at the lodge. Reports of mysterious cigarette butts, breaking glass, billiard balls in the dead of night, and windows once locked found open, abound. There was a reported sighting by a guest of a one-armed man floating down the stairs. The owner of the Lodge is Catherine Wanek who purchased the property in 1984 and opened it as a B & B in 1988. She is a former Hollywood movie 2nd director and now a writer/photographer who authored "The New Straw Bale Home" and the "The Art of Natural Building". Located on the property are a number of structures and walls built with bales of hay and stucco. This is a fascinating place! A frequent guest, Gary, is a massage instructor/therapist who gave Ann a wonderful chair massage. A great way to end the day. We slept so soundly that we didn't hear any quirky sounds that Sam the ghost might have made during the night.