We said goodbye to friendly Portales (see photo above) and headed west to Fort Sumner, the home of the “official” grave of Billy the Kid.
We are at the Sumner Lake State Park and the land is very much like it was at Oasis State Park. But driving around the area of Fort Sumner we discovered lots of fields planted with crops. The Pecos River runs through this area and the farmers have irrigation canals running along their fields. This flooding of the fields is also how farming is done along the Rio Grande near El Paso.
Visiting the grave of William Bonner “Billy the Kid” is interesting and so was learning more about the legends of him. Alongside his grave are two other people that ran with him. The three graves are enclosed in a rod iron fence and Billy’s tombstone is wrapped in an iron cage. This seems like a lot of overkill to protect a grave, but his tombstone was stolen twice. Once it was missing for over 20 years and eventually found in Grandbury, Texas. The second time it was stolen it was found in California. That was when the tombstone was “shackled to his feet.”
There is also a memorial remembering the “Long Walk.” This is a time when 2,000 Apache and 400 Navajo Indians were forced into a reservation at Bosque Redondo (which was at Ft Sumner, and was the reason for the Army Fort being located there). A total of over 6,000 Indians were forced onto the reservation. During the time the Indians were at the reservation, over 3,000 Indians died. The reservation was closed within a couple of years and the Fort abandoned. The memorial is open Wednesday thru Sunday, so we missed it.
Tomorrow we will continue our trek to Albuquerque.