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 Author: JE1947
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:15 pm 
The first photo is of the Mangas Springs area, west of Silver City. The Spanish originally named this water "Agua de Santa Lucia," on St. Lucia's day ... the water was a place where Paleoindians located prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The Spanish came north, of course, on many occasions, mainly in search of "the [idea of] the Seven Cities of Cibola. What that meant was: precious minerals such as copper, gold and silver. Perhaps others. But those three were a point of obsession for the Spanish. Obviously, the Spanish coming into the Americas,by virtue of South and Central America; Cuba and the islands of the Caribbean; Central America and South America, penetrated the Southwest with tenacity, persistence, an intent to conquer these lands, and souls. They were absolutely certain that there was vast mineral wealth here.

D. E. Cole, who wrote the book: "The Chiricahua Apache: 1846-1876: From War To Reservation." said that when Apaches of the approximate late 1600s learned that the Spaniards who had conquered Meso-America sought gold at almost any cost, and may have begun to encounter Native Americans of what would become SW NM and SE AZ, and what they did to get those metals, they sent out a word: bring the gold (and perhaps silver) to some central Apache site, and leader, in this vast area. They warned about dire consequences for those who latched onto the metals, especially gold and silver. The Apaches eschewed adornment of such metals. They felt that to "grovel in the earth" for those metals was an abuse of Ussen, the central spiritual figure in Apache cosmology and spirituality. Some may have been threatened with being labeled as witches to retain and use those metals.

The three photos shown here cover generally, the territory of SW NM with the first two in the Burros. The last is within knowledge of Mangas Coloradas, but likely wasn't regularly included in his prime territory.

This photo shows Mangas Creek as it ambles down through the Valley, or Cañon from NM 180 W at the bridge at Blacksmith Cañon, and eventually empties into the Main Gila River, below Bob Evans Lake, somewhere near the Bird Sanctuary on the Main Gila. I've waded the river there, to the other side. It moves fairly swiftly, and I'd never recommend wading it without someone around. It's always possible to slip, or loose one's footing and go into the water. At this time of year, particularly if the area sees heavy rains for the next few days, the Gila (Main) will run and roll. The water will be colder. It is very possible to get soaked, get swept along, maybe luck out and beach ... but be water logged, and the walk back could be rigorous. If so, hypothermia is possible.

When I first came here a group of folks, exploring the East Fork of the Gila, with plenty of experience among them, were out, equipped for summer hiking ... as happened with my wife Dorothy and I around the time of the Blues Festival, 2004. We got caught in a stream with high cañon walls. We had started back to the truck at the first sound of thunder, but sure enough, the water that had fallen twenty miles away in the Black Range, began to show up. Water of this nature is pretty amazing in that that sudden front wall of downpour appears literally as a "moving wall." That first wall came through ... with no more than six inches increase, but ... accompanying that water farther to the east, in the distant Mimbrés Mountains and Black Range ... was a significant drop in temps. Along with those temp drops came lots and lots of pelting, stinging hail. The ground was covered with hail. Some places, the hail piled up to three and four inches in depth.

The temperature drop hit us hard. We were in river shoes; shorts; t-shsirts; ponchos; space blankets; nothing warm to drink; about one mile to hike like mad ... got to the truck ... stripped off ... had some wool items ... poncho and serape ... turned on the heater full blast ... drove home naked. Freezing.
Hail drifts in the Mimbrés off NM 35. Could've died ... it was a 30-40º drop in an hour or hour and a half.

So, don't jump in the Gila where Mangas Creek enters the river without friends, and an assurance you'll have warm clothes, a car with a heater something warm ... unless you're nuts. The area across the Gila from where all this happens is magnificent. My guess is, this may be the backside of the Tillie Hall and Big Lue Mountains. It was surely traveled by Apaches of Mangas' Group. He was the leader of significance. In 1860, that area was surveyed at the request of Dr. Michael Steck, who wanted to establish a Gila Apache Agency there. The survery was done. Maps were made. Dr. Steck wanted badly to try and protect Mangas and his people from extermination from inexorbable encroachment by Americans.

Mangas was assassinated in January, 1863. He was murdered in cold blood by men of General Carleton and Colonel West, at a place called Ft.McLane, which is roughly near the road that turns west, off NM 180, to the Grant County Airport. The Gila Apache Agency bit the dust. By the end of the Civil War, no one wanted that land, especially the water and pristine grazing lands, turned over to Apache. Certainly, not too Mangas' group. With Cochise, and practically every other Apache west of the Rio Grande, they had declared total war against the Americans in NM. Civil War settlers came into the area, among them James K. Metcalf, who founded a ranch directly on the land at the juncture of Mangas Creek, Blacksmith Cañon, subsidiary water courses, and Agua de Santa Lucia (Santa Lucia Springs). They formed the waters that had made that area productive for perhaps PaleoIndians, Mimbrénos, the intermediate peoples after the Mogollons departed around 1300 A.D., and the Apaches.

The second photo is from a hike in the Burros south of Mangas Springs, where summer rains and winter snow melts cause the stream beds and arroyos to flow and flow well. I'd hiked this area many times, and as the film crew of Brian Huberman and Cynthia Wolf accompanied me down into these steep arroyos, after a heavy August rain, the water was coming down. We found seeps and springs coming from the hillsides as we went down into steeper and steeper cañons, and hit water, running knee deep, for about 800 yards, or more. We came to a literal waterfall or cascade, and had to cut our way down through the thickly overgrown foliage that basically blocked normal passage UP or down. The water was cascading over rocks. It was beautiful. Undoubtedly, 400 years ago, when the Apaches may have first made their appearances in this part of the country, they saw much water flow into the cañons of both the Big and Little Burros. Both were part of Mangas' "our country."

Dr. Steck was Mangas' last best hope.The man who may have been born in 1790, was murdered for "his sins." He was not a gentle man. He killed many Spaniards, Mexicans and Americans. He certainly had a deep and abiding hatred for Sonorans. He didn't have much care for Americans after a certain pojnt. The Santa Rita del Cobre mines, where copper was first found around 1802-1804, lay directly in his territory. Mangas put up with these encroachments because he saw, particularly with the early Americans, that they came heavily armed; were excellent shots; stood their ground unto death; and meant to come on no matter what the Apaches desired.

After Mangas was assassinated, there were years when the Apaches held sway, but by the end of the Civil War, the sluice gates were opened. Americans poured in. The three stories about the Metcalf Ranch are all contained in my series:

http://www.desertexposure.com/apacheria. To see this much water come down in a short time, particularly when the ground has already been soaked by previous monsoonal rains, or, snow, is a spectacular experience.

The scene of the last photo is actually south of Deming and east, somewhat. It is a known Apache rancheria to the military by the Civil War era. I found it by reading military records; matching the descriptions; named places; looking at BLM and FS maps;searching for older maps;talking with ranchers who owned the current property. It was a rancheria of note. There was water here. This area in the Floridas is generally considered within the Chihenne N'de (Red Paint People's) territory. Mangas apparently adhered to the lines demarcated by the various groups of Chiricahua (Eastern) or Chokonen or Bedonkohe Apaches (Mogollon). He would've known about this rancheria and water sites, but did not generally intrude.

The barrel cactus were in bloom. The fruit from the barrel can be eaten. With me, diverticulitis, prevents me from sampling the fruit much ... very gingerly pulling off the blossoms and scraping away the seeds ... the fruit to me tasted like kiwi. I am sure that the Apaches ate the fruit of the barrel cactus and when in season, the tuna of the prickly pear. I don't know about those damned cholla. The Century Agave plants are, of course, the provider of mescal. Mescal, harvested, roasted, pounded flat, is sweet, somewhat sticky, and is delicious. The Apaches harvested mescal agave and were able to preserve it and carry it around pressed flat, cut in long strips,in bags, and certainly stored in caches all across this country.

Mangas Coloradas would be like one of our most famous statesmen. I think: Eisenhower. Warrior. President. But Eisenhower never was as personally involved with violence as Mangas.Ike never killed anyone with his hands, musket, bow, arrow, knife, stone,spear ... as Mangas did. Mangas derived his stature from his courage; intellect; ability to listen and formulate and negotiate; familial ties;and physical stature (he was well over 6' tall and had a huge head).

He married off daughters to the likes of other Chokonen Apache ... perhaps to Chihenne N'de; as medieval kings did in Europe ... to construct alignments and associations with other powerful Apache leaders. Cochise was the most prominent. He was not a leader of the Chihenne N'de (Cuchilo Negro; Delgadito; Loco; Nana; Victorio). They were their own leaders. Cochise was very clearly aligned with Mangas from deep respect. Mangas and Cochise raided the hell out of Chihuahua and Sonora. They were merciless in the latter case.

The Butterfield Overland Mail Stage Line would've gone through Mangas' territory in the main.Also, Victorio's and the Chihenne N'de territory, from the Gila to the Mimbres and over to the Rio Grande. The Mimbres would've been Chihhene N'de territory.Mangas, perhaps a Bedonkohe, as Geronimo (Mogollon Apache), married into a Chihenne N'de family ... and lived with his wife' family forever after.

Questions can be sent to Crow. The water of Mangas Coloradas' country were certainly within a fifteen mile square area from Mangas Springs, north, to around Buckhorn, taking in the lower western slopes of the Mogollon; Pinos Altos; Mimbrés; LS Mesa; lower Gila River at Gila; Cliff; Lower Gila Box; Red Rock; Big Lues; Tillie Halls; Mule Mountains; and most predominantly, the Big and Little Burros. I reckoned two or three years ago, contemplating my 7-800 hikes "in Apacheria," that I've likely hiked on the lands and grounds of Mangas Coloradas, several hundred times. I'll be writing an article, hopefully, for The Desert Exposure, but with a different emphasis.

This series is still and always was, about water. It is hoped that brining awareness to the readers will give them some inspiration to stand firm against modern diversionistas who short-sightedly, want to siphon off the Gila ... once that is done, the impact on the entire Gila River watershed, will be forever altered. Forever is essentially ... within our lifetimes, the lifetimes of our children. Millions of years in creation, the aquifer beneath us will need no humans sucking it dry for millions of years ... climate change, human extinction, or severe depopulation of the SW isn't impossible in our lifetimes... but it won't be pleasant.

The river will run after all humans are gone. But, why mess with it? Why?

 Author: EGGreen
PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:39 am 
That first photo is beautiful!! Good article, Jerry. Your knowledge of this area and its people's is invaluable. And I agree completely.....water IS the story. Thank you.

Create a great day! Gale

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