Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ghost Town Ghosts

One of the great bennies of volunteer trainers at Philmont, is the Wednesday Afternoon rides into the back country. The Chaplains (Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, LDS) have a fleet of Suburbans put to this use as they have daily needs to go somewhere to rescue lost souls -- or more likely to pick up trash and make deliveries to remote camps. The back country is riddled with trails and dirt roads. Several sub-base camps staffed by Philmont summer workers have radio contact with base camp HQ and the Infirmary. The chatter is quite entertaining:

"When the crew arrives, please advise them of safety policy and that it is not good to leave their sick adviser on a camp porch and go on without him. Out. Base."
 Yesterday, we were privileged to go to a place we'd never been - Baldy Camp. Both of my treks were in the south country so I take every chance I get to visit up north. And everywhere are the most amazing things found at Philmont:

My Grandsons at Baldy Town Camp - Mt. Baldy above.

The Scouts have a commisary, post office/general store, and a staff bunkhouse built on the foundations of original Baldy Town ruins. They leave most of the artifacts in situ including the fancy iron work above left (maybe a stove piece?) and the ceramic covered container on the right (chamber pot?)

Baldy Town had a brief existence as a mining town. Here's the BSA version of the background:

That was all pretty cool, but the best was saved for last. There were more than the usual number of instructors at the Philmont Training Center this week so we got in a Suburban that wasn't driven by a Chaplain (so, maybe we lucked out). We had a great Staffer who knew where to stop just below the town to see the cemetery. He claimed it had only recently been discovered, or rediscovered. It is understandable how it could have been lost to time:

Baldy Town, New Mexico Cemetery. Roughly surrounded by a fallen barbed wire fence.
With great respect for the dead knowing that I will go there too, I have strong feelings about cemeteries and human remains. I've had the strongest witness as well about life after earthly death, something I can't prove but have experienced in the slightest of spiritual witnesses. And someday, I will experience the whole thing. It's not ghosts or fear that confront me. It is more a loss and a gain of what I can only begin to understand.

The first notice of the cemetery were stones, like the one above, carved with crosses:

The crosses are clear. The names are lost. We only hope they can rest in peace to rise again. Two of the graves have legible markers:

Miller's marker a bit more legible than Andrade's, even they will not last forever. Fortunately, I was able to find both searching on and Family You can click on the links of their names to find their burials recorded at Find-a-Grave. So, they will not be forgotten assuming digital permanence.

Whatever happens at death, which I'm actually looking forward to because of my strong beliefs of something good coming, it certainly couldn't be any worse than this view for the eternities:
View from the slopes of Mt. Baldy towards Ute Park, Cimarron River, and the south country of Philmont.

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