We woke in Picture Canyon. Erik and his team planned to return to Oklahoma City. We made a big breakfast cooking everything we hadn’t eaten so far on the trip. By the time we finished cooking eating and packing up Mr. Fisher and I had to change our plans too.
The trek up Black Mesa and back takes at least 5 hours. We had 7 hours of driving to get home. We had an hour and a half to get to the trail-head. The math put us in Norman around 11 PM or even later. That wasn’t really an option as I had to go back to work on Tuesday. So we skipped Black Mesa. I’ve been to the Black Mesa area three times and I haven’t made the hike yet. My next trip to the region Black Mesa will be my primary goal. I’m doing that first.
We headed to Campo, Colorado to get some fuel. We found a garage there with a mechanic, that’s something to put in the memory bank just in case. We fueled up and struck up a conversation with a local gentleman who heard we were overlanding and gave us a great suggestion for a route home. We headed south out of Campo looking for Road C. We headed east and soon found ourselves out on the wide open grassland.
Along the way we found a historical marker and stopped to check it out. Turned out it was a short cut for the Santa Fe Trail.
You can find it by clicking this map.google.com link.
“Santa Fe Trail Marker with Stone Posts”
The markers were for the Aubry Cutoff. From the sign, it was a way from the Mountain Route to the Cimarron Route on the Santa Fe Trail.
The sign was well weathered and really hard to read so I translated it for you.
“Francois Xaver Aubry was born December 3, 1824 near Quebec. In 1843 at 18, he left his home and moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he began working as a clerk for a French Canadian merchant company.”
“In 1846 lured by the talk of trade making money and adventure on the Santa Fe Trail, he gave up his job as a clerk and became a full-time trader. By 1850, Aubry had traveled multiple routes with the goal of finding the shortest sand-free path that provided adequate water and wood. In 1851 he found it establishing what became known as the Aubry Cutoff.”
“From 1846 to 1854 Aubry was among the business most influential merchants on the Santa Fe Trail. His caravans were usually large and his speed and reliability in getting goods to the right market ahead of others was legendary. The average length of Aubry’s trips was 37 days while other merchants would take up to 90 days to deliver their goods to Santa Fe.”
“Along with this mercantile reputation he developed a talent for individual travel. Aubry’s 730 mile trip on horseback from Santa Fe to Independence Missouri in the **** days…”
The rest of the sign is indistinguishable.
The grassland was amazing. I’ve never been so far away from everything. It is a truly wide open place.
There were other markers laying out the Santa Fe Trail.
We crossed in to Oklahoma.
We decided to head to the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. I’ve never been but have wanted to go several times. The shortcut through Texas was really terrible. We battled the 18-wheelers hauling pre-hamburgers and pre-steaks at mach 2 on the roads throughout the panhandle of Texas. I’m pretty sure most of them should be arrested and thrown into jail for the speed they were traveling and the absolute utter disregard for other drivers. Seriously we were nearly rammed by two 18-wheelers going well over 80 mph. There’s no way they could have stopped if something happened.
We stopped in one these cattle towns and made some sandwiches and ate lunch. Every town had a silo like this one.
The Washita Battlefield National Historic Site is a real nice museum and was free! We stopped and watched an informative video about the event. We looked at the artifacts and read some of the interesting perspectives of the times. There would be a recollection of a white person and a recollection of a native person showing the two sides of the same event. Very informative.
We then went down the road to the actual site. The river has moved since the original event but with a little imagination you can put yourself there that fateful winter day.
We took the two lane highways home. I can tell you as we came back into civilization I actually longed for the wide open spaces of the plains. The rest of the trip was uneventful and we managed to get home without dying.