Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/79

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CHAPTER VII.


Jornada del Muerto.—Socorro.—Lieut. Campbell.—Terrific Ride for Life.—Splendid Horse.—Narrow Escape.—Caring for a Horse.—Apache Visits.—Treacherous Nature.


Some time after the events above recorded, it became necessary for me to visit the town of Socorro, in New Mexico, for the purpose of assisting in the purchase of sheep. It was my most excellent fortune to possess a horse whose equal I have never seen. With high courage and almost fabulous powers of endurance; strong, swift and handsome, I had made him a special pet, and nobly did he answer my appeal when occasion demanded.

At that time Fort Craig had no existence, and the space between Doña Ana and Socorro—a distance of one hundred and twenty-five miles—is a large desert, well supplied with fine grama grass in some portions, but absolutely destitute of water or shade for ninety-six miles. This intervening strip of territory is known by the unattractive appellation of the Jornada del Muerto, or the Dead Man's Journey. Why it ever received this title I never distinctly learned, but suppose it was on account of the very numerous massacres committed on it by the Apache Indians. On the east the road is fringed for about sixty miles by the Sierra Blanca, a noted strong-hold of that people; and from its heights they are enabled distinctly to perceive any party of travelers coming over the wide and unsheltered expanse of the Jornada del Muerto. As the plain affords no opportunity for ambush,