including park conditions, closures or restrictions, weather and program
information, may be found on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/gumo/
or by contacting the Headquarters (Pine Springs) Visitor Center at
(915) 828-3251 x2124. The Headquarters (Pine Springs) Visitor Center
is open daily (except for Christmas) from 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM. There
is no public transportation to the park. The nearest gasoline, lodging
and services are 35 miles away. Motorists traveling past the park
along U.S. Hwy 62/180 may tune in to the park’s Traveler Information
Station at 1610 AM for up-to-date park information."
me the keys to the entry gate, the Park Ranger casually mentioned
that there was a seven mile dirt road to the Williams Ranch House.
It didn't sound all that bad at the time. But, any way you look at
it, seven miles on this rocky, bouncy road that constantly crosses
even rockier dry gullies, is a long way to drive. Especially considering
that the only thing to see when you get there is just a single structure
that in and of itself is not particularly outstanding.
The desolate Williams Ranch is located, as the crow flies, sixty miles
north of Van Horn,
ninety miles east of El
Paso and just over fifty miles southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Already one can tell that this destination is truly right smack dab
in the middle of nowhere. What better reason does one need to go see
it? Especially when you can drive practically right up to the front
|It is quite a
shock to leave the wide, smooth, paved Carlsbad to El Paso Highway
with its 75 mile per hour speed limit, to face this rigorous journey
testing man and machine. The time stamp on the digital photos shows
it takes right at an hour to drive the seven miles to the ranch. I'm
not complaining because part of the road parallels the old Butterfield
Stage Trail of the 1870s. Just the thought of an extended trip
on a stage coach in these dusty old surroundings is chilling.
Williams Ranch House
Photo Courtesy Barclay
Gibson, May 2011
|The lonely ranch
house sits on a slope near the western base of the Guadalupe Mountains
within the present boundaries of the Guadalupe Mountains National
Park. Although Signal Peak can't
be seen from the house, it is less than two miles away. Without a
doubt, any residence in this location is going to provide only the
barest of essentials. It appears that the only luxury at all was an
attempt to dress up the living room with some, now peeling and unrecognizable,
|I can't imagine
what life on the ranch was like a hundred years ago. What remains
of an old Model T truck with its wooden spoke wheels gives me an idea.
The poor old truck died just a few hundred yards from the house. As
it looks now, it appears to have been a source for used Model T parts
for more than 75 years. Even its cargo, a rusty old barrel, still
sits patiently waiting to be delivered.
Ranch House Porch View
Photo Courtesy Barclay
Gibson, May 2011
|Just about the
only thing pleasant the house has to offer is its long distance view
across the dry Salt
Flat to Dell
City. The mountains in the distance are nearly forty miles away.
This just may be the longest back porch view of any house in Texas.
It is for sure the loneliest view.
Wow, I was so surprised to read Mr. Gibson's article, photos AND an
essay which I thoroughly enjoyed. I've visited the Guadalupe Mtns.
twice, not to this place, though, and I felt myself on the front porch
of that remote ranch house with the high pitched moan of the wind
in my ears. It evoked that loneliness and sense of isolation he wrote
about, but his photograph would have done it just the same all by
itself. Lagniappe with the remarks. - Frances
Giles, June 03, 2013
From Texas state map #10749
Texas General Land Office
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