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Our Very Own Limestone Adventure

July 4, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I enjoyed a fantastic 3rd of July cookout yesterday.  Many fun and fascinating folks were in attendance, and once the wind and rain blew through, the weather was just about what one would want for the occasion.  A fine event all around. 

The party took place on a bluff overlooking Lamy, New Mexico , and just a stone's throw from a mysterious structure deep in one of the neighboring ravines, and which is just barely visible from surrounding hilltops.  So I joined two adventuresome Scotts on a trek to find the entrance to a lost subterranean city site.  

That's right.  We had our very own adventure JUST LIKE THE GOONIES.

Well, no, not just like the Goonies.  For one thing, we found no pirate treasure.  And there were no boobytraps.  Or, if there were, they were old and out of commission by the time we stumbled upon them.

Our leader and spirit guide was Scott "I take my coffee with a shot of rattler venom on the side" Denning, ably assisted by Scott "sasquatch hunter" Phillips.  As for me, I provided comic relief.  Mostly by virtue of my hat.  (What can I say?  I burn easily.  And hey, if the hat was good enough for Australia, it's easily good enough for an afternoon in the New Mexico sun.)

We spent the first ten or fifteen minutes of our trek tumbling scrambling falling climbing down from the clifftop into a rocky ravine.  Once near the bottom, we were able to follow the winding path of an arroyo past lengths of discarded narrow-gauge rail and hints of a long-disused roadbed.  And eventually the trek paid off (twisted ankles, sandals full of sand, and everything) when we encountered this long-lost ziggurat:

Like characters in an H. Rider Haggard novel, had we stumbled upon the remains of a lost great ancient civilization?  Had we traveled to the very heart of unexplored New Mexico? 

It certainly felt like it, until we found this sign on just outside the entrance:

Of course!  The fabled Lamy Lime Works!  After all this time, it turned out the legends were true all along.  I'm sure you can imagine the riches we found!  That's why I can't be too specific about the location of our find, or even our point of departure.  Otherwise the site would be overrrun with treasure seekers who would rob the site of every last chunk of broken limestone and flake of century-old charcoal.  After all, who hasn't heard fabulous tales of the legendary limestone smelters of New Mexico?

The leader of our expedition was the first to climb inside the lime kiln.  But he came out just as quickly, sporting this rictus of demonic bloodlust:

Apparently the kiln had long been home to an imprisoned demon or djinn.  But once Scott D. took one for the team, his possession cleared the way for me and the other Scott to investigate the kiln.  This is the view from inside, looking up:

(Notice Scott D peering down at us.  He flew up the chimney like something out of The Exorcist.  It was scary.)  Later, during out mad scramble leisurely climb back up to the party, we paused at the top of the kiln:

where we enjoyed a nice view:

(Photos courtesty of Scott "four-star general in the KISS army" Phillips.)



Adrienne July 5, 2011 at 12:51 am
True story: I once went on an unscheduled (and unapproved) bike ride with a few of my friends to the railroad tracks. We'd heard there was a body somewhere and we had to get to it before a group of older thugs beat us to it. On the way, one of us tried to dodge a train, we were attacked by leeches, chased by a junkyard dog, and I found out that my friend's dad really hated him. Also, they made a movie about it.
Scott Denning July 5, 2011 at 9:51 pm
"Demonic Rictus" -- I call band name! (I think "Demonic Bloodlust" is taken.) The demonic possession has worn off. No, really -- any aberrant behavior now evident is pre-existing. The only lingering effect is a craving for Key Lime Pie. Man, that's some fine sleuthing you did on the Lime Works. No wonder it is in such good shape -- as we remarked, in remarkably fine repair and ready to be used. We now see why! All hail Abe Shaffer and his determination to save this piece of local history!
Steve Halter July 6, 2011 at 10:36 am
That looks like great fun. I've always enjoyed stumbling across forgotten ruins. The inscription seems to be a warning of some sort. It arranges into (among other things): Leak Slimy Worm. Or possibly AI YES is meant to be extracted. This makes a great deal of sense given Scott's seeming possession. I suspect he has been godshattered and possibly infected with a Type IV consciousness. You should probably immediately emplace him within a Faraday Mobius pentagram system.
Ian July 7, 2011 at 9:31 am
I've always wondered what happened to your ear.
Ian July 7, 2011 at 9:38 am
I applaud anybody willing to do so much work, to embark on such a labor of love, for an obscure bit of 19th century history. What an amazing story. And yet I'm almost a little disappointed that we really didn't stumble on a nearly pristine lost ruin. What a waste of my childhood spent reading H. Rider Haggard.
Ian July 7, 2011 at 9:42 am
It was hugely fun! LAMY LIME WORKS = LEAK SLIMY WORM = LAMY SLIME WORK = MY AWOL MILKERS! = MY LAKE SWIRL OM!! = MY MA SWORE KILL!!! I think you're on to something. I'm upgrading to a Faraday Mobius Level 2 just to be safe.
Scott Denning July 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm
"I'm almost a little disappointed that we really didn't stumble on a nearly pristine lost ruin." That was just a trial run. A test, to see if all concerned had the moxie -- yes, moxie! -- for the Big Adventure. Throughout the great state of New Mexico there are indeed many a fabled lost mine and ruins of lost cities, muttered of in unguarded moments by Indians (for Indians they still were then, not Native Americans), spoken of with alcoholic reverence by Old Timers, subject of lore and legend and debate. Great Adventure and Extravagant Riches await those bold enough to dare the wilds, the heat, the abrasive sand and cutting rock, the terrible diner food, the beasts big and small. And to dare encounters with the Hard Men who seek the same treasures...
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