We woke up to bright sunshine and 35°
F. temps at the Reynolds' property on Saturday morning, the day
before the 4th annual Ghost Town 38.5-mile race in
southwestern New Mexico. This is the schedule that Susan posted
for the day:
Saturday, January 17
9:00 a.m. registration opens at the studio at my place
Noon Q&A session in the studio while registration continues
with the help of volunteers
Afternoon registration in studio
4:00 p.m. Q& A session if anyone is interested
5:00 p.m. Volunteers mtg. at the studio
5:30 p.m. property closes down so everyone can go to the pasta
6:00-7:00 p.m. pasta meal, door prizes, bit about Imermans
7:00-8:00 p.m. late registration
8:30-9:00 p.m. all campers/tenters/vehicle-sleepers in the
fenced area, gate closes
I offered to help with registration but runners were trickling
in so slowly until the middle of the afternoon that Susan gave
me the morning off.
After breakfast Jim and I drove up to "Cemetery Hill" just
outside of town to get and send e-mail, as there's no Verizon
cell signal at the Reynolds' house or in town.
View of range and cattle from Cemetery Hill
While Jim was on the computer Cody and I wandered around the
interesting cemetery. I noticed many unmarked graves,
some unusual markers, some very tidy and/or more elaborate
and a lot of babies and young
children who died around 1916-18. Matt later told me they died
during an epidemic.
The child buried in the grave inside this little fence died the
day after it was born in 1912:
I was in dire need of a run. I was hoping to run on part of the
race course out on the dirt road (FR 157) but we still had the water tank
on the bed rails of the truck and didn't want to lose it driving
back the bumpy road. So I ran and walked a few miles out and
back from the cemetery on NM 27, down into Hillsboro, and out to
the Reynolds' house.
That gave me the opportunity to burn off some energy AND see the
little historic town up close.
Old implements and wooden wagon outside a
business; community center on hill in background.
According to a marker at the edge of town, Hillsboro was founded
in the 1870s after gold and silver were discovered in the nearby
Black Range. The town developed into an important mining and
ranching center. It was the site of several renowned trails and
reportedly had the last operating stage line in the U.S.
This sign on one of the buildings captures a bit of
I spotted two crumbling structures on the hillside that I
thought were photogenic and probably had some historical
significance. Indeed they did. Matt, who is the local circuit
judge, told me they were the original jail and courthouse from
the era when Hillsboro was the Sierra County seat (1884-1939):
Hillsboro became a historic district in 1986. Located on a
popular route between Silver City and Truth or Consequences, it
now relies more on tourism and ranching than mining to stay
Barbershop B&B and cafe
Like many other towns in New Mexico, Hillsboro is home to artists,
writers, antique dealers, and other small business people
catering to visitors who come to the area for its history,
recreational activities, and reputation for fine arts and
Percha Creek Traders (art galleries)
I enjoyed walking through town, taking photos of interesting
architectural details and plants on the outside of several homes
and shops, browsing inside an art gallery, and talking to one of
the local "characters" named Stretch, who claims to be from the
oldest Hispanic family in the area (Matt says several unrelated
families make that claim, however).
Catholic Church; there is a Protestant one,
Period porch art
Kokopeli, ubiquitous symbol of New Mexico
Howdy, pardner! Cowpoke at entrance to ranch on
outskirts of town
THE PLACE STARTS HOPPING
By the time I wandered back to the Reynolds' property and ate
lunch, more runners were arriving to check in. Susan was able to
keep up with the flow and still didn't need our help so Jim and
I mostly socialized and worked on drop bags.
Three of our friends, Angela Ivory from
Tennessee and Kendel and Walt Prescott from Georgia, arrived at
the same time. Here Angela (L) and Kendel get their race packets
in the studio:
Walt completed a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail so
it was fun to talk with him about that adventure.
Most of the runners checked in by 4 PM and left their drop bags
in designated piles for the aid stations.
It was great to see a large contingent of folks we knew
from Hardrock and other assorted races throughout the country:
John Hobbs, who we'd recently met at Across the Years;
Mary Croft; Bobby and Diana Keogh; Dave Coblentz;
Kris Kern and family; Jason Halliday; Andy
Jones-Wilkins; Bill Geist; Scott Eppelman.
Throughout the weekend we'd meet more runners whose names were
familiar but ones we hadn't yet met: Mark Dorian, Marty
Duchow, Jim Simpson, Bobby Biles, and others.
Soon the yard was full of vehicles whose owners had
reserved a camping spot at the race start/finish. Several runners
slept in small RVs and camping
vans. Others slept in their vehicles or in tents in the back
yard. The weather was fairly cool but warm enough to enjoy sitting outside to
socialize while waiting for the runner briefing at 4 PM, the
volunteer briefing at 5, or dinner at the community center at 6.
PRE-RACE PASTA DINNER
Over a hundred runners, volunteers, family members, and friends
enjoyed the pre-race meal prepared and served by one of Susan's
friends, Maree, who is a caterer and runs the Enchanted Villa
Susan sent out e-mails to all the runners and volunteers
well before race time requesting input re: what we wanted
to eat. She then chose a variety of pasta dishes to please both
vegetarians and meat-eaters: lasagna with and without
spaghetti with meatball or plain sauce, pasta with olive oil,
salad, garlic bread, cheesecake, apple crisp, and beverages.
Runners, volunteers, and guests line up for
the pasta buffet. Gabe and Tasha are in the foreground.
This was the only meal for which runners had to pay all weekend.
It was worth the cost -- very good!.
Since Susan allowed more runners into the race this year she
knew there wouldn't be room for everyone at the cafe where she's
previously held the pre-race meal. This year's event was held at
the library/community center -- and we filled that large
room. Jim and I had the pleasure of eating with Kris Kern and
his wife, Marty Duchow and his friend (left foreground in photo
below), and the Powells (next to Jim in right foreground below).
After dinner Susan awarded door prizes, gave last-minute
instructions to the runners, thanked the volunteers and
sponsors, and let one of the runners present information about
the charity he runs for,
Imerman Angels. We were back at our camper by 7:30
to relax and prepare for an early night's sleep before the race.
Next entry: race day and post-race activities
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2009 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil