We live just outside of the city limits of Las Cruces and are surrounded by the 496,000 acres of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument, our nation's newest protected area. We like to drive up to the Dripping Springs Visitor Center, located just a short drive from our house, to take walks and have picnics with friends.
Last week we decided to walk the trail to the springs that give the area its name, since we have always just walked the shorter trail to La Cueva.
|At the beginning of the trail|
|Looking back at the city and the Mesilla Valley|
|It's always sobering to see that "people have died while climbing in these mountains"|
|A shady stop along the way...|
|... and the view from the stone bench|
|Although this was a winter walk, the sun heats up at 5800 feet, so that shade up ahead was looking very attractive|
The first ruins we came to were of the chicken coop, livery and mercantile buildings that were part of Van Patten's Mountain Camp, the original Dripping Springs resort which was built in the 1870s.
It was fun to imagine early travelers making the trip by stage coach.
|Livery building and corrals; Mesilla Valley in the distance|
|Another view of the livery building and a drinking trough for the tired and thirsty horses|
|Further up the trail we came to a little snow|
We heard the dripping of the springs before we saw them. In this part of the country any amount of water is exciting; in the old days the spring dripped into the cistern and the staff at the resort filled ollas (large unglazed ceramic pots) and carried the water to the guests' rooms.
The resort was sold to Dr. Nathan Boyd in 1917. Mrs. Boyd had contracted tuberculosis, so her husband converted the resort to a sanatorium--the treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis in those pre-antibiotic days called for a healthful diet, strict bed rest, and lots of fresh air.