("Norcal Ron" before [top] and after [bottom] his trip to the Caballos.)
One of my staunch supporters out there and mining friends is California miner "NorCal Ron." I'm probably not going out on much of a limb here by saying that Ron, like many us in this gold prospecting and mining thing, is a real character who marches to the beat of his own drummer (by the way, that's high praise in my book).
Anyway, Ron had an idea he ran past me recently that concerned "No BS..." stories. Don't know what those are? Well if you seen time in the military or as a member of law enforcement at one time or another someone you knew prefaced their story with, "Now this is no bull shit..." or, "So there I was..." Hell, this is probably just as true if you're not a cop or ex-military type. One thing I've learned over the years about people in general is that there's a sizable percentage of BSers in the overall mix.
That said, here's Ron's "No BS" story:
"So there I was with all my high hopes and plans for my New Mexico trip to check out the Caballo Mountain Range and do a little gold prospecting. First things first, however. I had to hurry and finish the cinder block wall in the backyard. While thus engaged, I ended up needing a tool from the lawn-side of my shed. Instead of taking my usual route I opted to take a shortcut around the back of the shed and, not paying attention to my surroundings, promptly tripped over the stub of a previously cut bush that projected upward about two inches. Well, I caught that bush stub with the front part of my foot with my body going forward. The long and the short of it? I messed up my heel, my hip, and over-extended my Achilles tendon."
(There's nothing like pulling a Homer J. Simpson!)
"Did I mention instant pain? What great timing...only a week away from the start of my prospecting trip to the Caballos. The only positive thing that happened was when my wife came outside and yelled 'Honey, you're supper's ready' and I yelled back 'Honey, come over here and help me!' Otherwise, that would have been one LONG crawl back to the house. What'd I end up doing? I bought myself a roll of KT tape and off I went to New Mexico."
(This view of the Caballo Mountains is called the "Sleeping Indian." Can you see why?)
"The ride out went just fine but once we arrived in New Mexico and I began hiking up the slopes of the Caballos...did I say 'hike?' Let me rephrase that because hiking may not be the proper term. The entire time I knew I'd be in deep doo-doo if I made one small slip on a rock. The only way to haul me out would be by air and I don't like helicopters. If you examine them closely you'll notice they don't have much in the way of wings and their glide path tends to be straight down!"
"Another concern I had while exploring the Caballos were the Indian spirits that look after and protect the mountain range. Then there was always the possibility of aliens from outer space coming up from Roswell for their nightly visit. One good thing though...they can't sneak up on you at night because of their pale green glow. Besides, we had plenty of tonic water on hand for the spirits and I hear the little grey aliens just love beer."
(Too much is too much no matter where you're from.)
I probably shouldn't have mentioned the spirits of the Caballos. When we ran out of tonic water they got upset and started dumping gallons-full of rainwater from the heavens on us each and every day. We spent three full days repairing that washed-out arroyo and even after all that work we were left with a four-foot drop off that we had to negotiate with the truck.
The best part of the trip was on the way out. A young roadrunner decided that the road we were traversing was his and his alone. He wouldn't let us get by until he was satisfied we weren't from Roswell. First he came over to my side of the truck, looked up at me a few seconds, then strolled around to the driver's side, did the same thing, and then strolled to the middle of the road. He gave us what may have been his version of a dirty look, flicked his tail, and walked away. You know, we didn't find any gold on this expedition into the Caballos. But if gold nuggets were lightweight and floated on water, the truck would've been overloaded.
(The roadrunner, state bird of New Mexico.)
Tell you what. On my next trip to New Mexico I'll leave my sunscreen at home...that'll leave me plenty of room to pack my swimsuit!
(Note: The Caballo or "Horse" Mountains are in southwestern New Mexico on the east side of the Rio Grande River. The Caballos have figured prominently in numerous treasure tales, including the legend of the Victorio Peak Treasure, the Padre LaRue Treasure, and others. Additionally, in localized areas the Caballos are highly mineralized and well-known gold placers have been worked near the mountain range to the west and south near the east bank of the Rio Grande. The Apaches under Chief Victorio and the Spanish conquistadores and colonistas once trod this region, as well as countless would-be treasure hunters, prospectors, and miners. The Caballos are a wild place, mountains of mystery and legend. I have little doubt that ghosts or spirits haunt many of the old or ancient sites there. Aliens too? Well, anything's possible in New Mexico. Just ask any resident of Roswell! J.R.)
My sincere thanks to "Norcal Ron" for his inspiring (??), no BS story.
Have a no BS story yourself? Run it by me and if makes the grade we'll get it into Bedrock Dreams.
Have fun out there!
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2014
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org