Some people celebrated the national holiday dedicated to the late civil rights leader by engaging in protests. Others might have gone to the local cinema to watch the Academy Awards snubbed “Selma.” But being retired in New Mexico, we went on a hike in the area of one of the newest National Monuments, the BLM’s Dripping Springs Natural Area. There are a number of short hikes in the site.
We chose the Dripping Springs trail, a three-mile out and back that encompasses several structures from the turn of the 19th to the 20th century.
Even though the late morning temps were approaching the mid-60s, the trail reminded us it was still the middle of January at 5600 feet elevation. We proceeded up the snowy trail to the Boyd Sanatorium, built by a doctor for his wife who had contracted tuberculosis.
There are several structures still standing as well as recognizable sites of other outbuildings since reclaimed by nature. Following the loop trail from the sanatorium, we came upon the dripping springs from whence the area is named.
About a quarter of a mile beyond the springs we came to the remains of the Dripping Springs Resort, originally called Van Patten’s Mountain Camp.
Ruins of the Resort
A Portion of one of the Resort’s Walls
Van Patten came to New Mexico at the urging of his uncle, John Butterfield, who operated the Butterfield Stage Line. Van Patten worked for the line, joined the Confederacy, and participated in the Battle of Glorieta Pass. After the war, he built the resort hotel at this site. Among the famous guests were Pat Garrett and Pancho Villa.
The mile and a half back to the Visitor Center was thankfully almost all downhill. But the views of the Organ Mountains, which we were in the midst of, were stunning as always.