La Liendre: At The End of the Road
NM 67, south of Las Vegas, starts out as a road but the county quickly lost interest in maintaining the route. First, there are potholes that could swallow a VW Bug then signs become obsolete, and guardrails non-existent.
The dangers of no guardrails became all too apparent when I came over what appeared to be a dip, but ended up staring down into a deep canyon. My foot slammed the brake pedal to the floor but the canyon’s edge was growing nearer. My thoughts shifted to Juliet, hoping that she would remember that I loved her. In the end, I was able to bring the Escape to a stop, as pebbles slid down the canyon wall next to my tires.
Slowing my pace considerably, I continued along the packed red dirt, as it wove along the canyon wall, and down into the flood plain of the Gallinas River. It was a white-knuckle, teeth-rattling drive, but I finally found La Liendre, the elusive ghost town. (Yes, you should question the sanity of a Ghost Town Hunter.)
La Liendre consists of several foundations and four somewhat intact buildings. There’s also a cemetery with names on crosses: Tapia, Martinez and Garcia abound. These are the remnants of an 1840s Spanish ranching community. Being a true ghost town, there are no residents.
The Cabeza de Baca family owned the most land in the area, and maintained the largest ranch, mostly grazing sheep along the river’s edge. The town itself contained one main street, and a post office was added in 1878.
After a series of droughts throughout the 1920s, grazing livestock became impossible and the residents slowly drifted away. Today, the Earth is reclaiming the adobe buildings.
Warning: This is not a place to visit in the winter or during the rainy season. Do not try this drive in a standard car. Your cell phone won’t get a signal in the area, so visit at your own risk.
Lane & Juliet
The writing and photography team behind Southwest Compass, the travel blog for the American Southwest.