14. Land of Enchantment
Apache Kid Wilderness

Apache Kid Wilderness

So back in the day, mid-late 1800s, lives this Apache guy named Haskay-bay-nay-ntayl (the Apache Kid, for short). He’s kidnapped by the Yuma Indians as a child and is later freed by the U.S. Army, after which he lives as a beggar-boy orphan, running feral around the army camp. A teenage Kid enlists with the U.S. Cavalry as an Indian Scout and shows mad skills on the job; does so well over the years that he climbs the ladder all the way up to sergeant. Then things go south: drunken fights, some people get killed, the Kid does some time in Alcatraz, in and out of prison; eventually escapes. From there it’s spotty and legend-ish: some say he was killed in 1894 by angry ranchers who caught him stealing their cattle in the San Mateo Mountains (present day Apache Kid Wilderness). Some report seeing him down in mountains of Chihuahua in Mexico, others say they saw him living amongst the Apache of the Sierra Madre Occidental (W. Mexico) as late as the 1930s. There are many stories and sightings. Here is the man himself:


The Apache Kid, namesake of The Apache Kid Wilderness.


Stéphane, Hugo and I spent five days in The Apache Kid Wilderness, a four hour drive south of Los Alamos Base Camp. We read of a scenic, isolated rock face filled with climbs just steps from camp: this combination is music to our ears (read: easy button with Hugo).


Expressive rocks here at our camp.
Our home for nearly a week. We saw not one soul until the day we left, five days later!


Perfect pairing: crackling campfire + brisk, moon-filled night.


Luna Campground is an ACTUAL campground – like with fire pits and picnic tables – VERY fancy. We typically do not stay in such places but Camp Luna is free and central to so many climbs it wouldn’t make sense to crash anywhere else.


Taking advantage of the many nooks and crannies to hide out from the wind one night. And play Yahtzee.


So many stars.


Hugo tries out a headlamp.
The evenings get cold pretty quickly so we log some camper time with Hugo before he hits the hay.


Perfect pairing #2: warm milk + Mr. Snuggles.


Smokey says: “Let’s climb!”


Perspective on just how close the climbs are to camp. While Hugo naps, we get in as many laps as we can.


Climbing with Hugo has always been hit or miss and lately, as he grows more mobile, we’ve been posting more losses than wins. Yet here at Red Rock Arroyo, we post a “W” as Hugo comes into his own: exploring the area while we climb, he stumbles around in the sand, pushing the stroller, helping daddy with the rope, and showing interest in what his parents are doing fifty feet up in the air.


Rocking the winter onesie and his new “real” shoes (they have soles).


Myra: patience ad infinitum.


Cool shot looking down on camp and out into the Apache Kid Wilderness.


Pushed myself to the top of this sandbagged route. The climbing here is mostly sport; very enjoyable, different routes. I even got another lead under my belt, thanks to Stéphane’s encouragement.


This one’s for our climbing Team Ducktape friends, The Lunas 🙂
Fun in the sun.


Hugo scrambling around at The Box. Day five we head north, towards home, to check out the climbing near Socorro, NM (“The Box”).


Love the font they used for this BLM sign-in kiosk: old school. Placed atop the box: an arrowhead, some kind of animal tooth / nail, and a conglomerate-type rock.


Top rope climbing area just beyond the camper. We enjoyed a fun morning of climbing with a really nice group and Hugo got to play with some kiddos.


The Apache Kid Wilderness spoke to us and we will be back!


The Apache Kid Wilderness is quiet, vast, and riddled with Wild West history. In iteration #102 of how the Apache Kid (center) met his death, the Kid is captured by ranchers (the Anderson posse) who lived in the very area where we explored. Angry at the Kid for stealing their cattle, the posse kill him. Today, one mile from the Apache Kid Peak high in the San Mateo mountains, a marker stands as The Apache Kid’s grave (no, I haven’t found it yet, but I will).

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