DesertUSA

Southwest Adventure, Living & Travel


04/16/14

DesertUSA's Stories of the Week

Union Post of Fort Craig

Fort Craig Ruins Paddy Graydon's Mule Bombs - Union Captain James "Paddy" Graydon had a plan, and every soldier who had ever served with Paddy Graydon understood that things could get dangerous in a hurry whenever that Irishman had a plan. They said he was "reckless" and "arrogant." They said he was a "daredevil" and a "braggart." And they revered him.

They knew that in campaigns against Apaches, Navajos and outlaws across New Mexico, Arizona and northern Mexico, Paddy Graydon had proven himself to be "fearless" and "indefatigable." He had become known as a "terror to the enemy," a "reliable spy" who watched "with an eagle eye for a chance to strike a telling blow."

Now, every soldier at the Union post of Fort Craig, on the west bank of the Rio Grande in central New Mexico, hoped that Graydon's latest plan would work. They needed to strike a telling blow against the Confederate force ensconced on the other side of the river. Otherwise, they faced a hard fight. More...

Billy the Kid

Graves William Bonney - Some people say that he was a "psychotic moron from the slums of New York". Some paint a picture of a misguided, but basically decent youth, thrust into events over which he had little control. Others paint a picture of a man who just happened to be on the losing side in a war, and was punished solely because of this fact. But no matter which version you accept, there is no question that Billy the Kid (also known as William Bonney, Henry McCarty, and Henry Antrim) is a figure who has long fired the imagination and interest of the American public.

Billy the Kid was born in 1859, most likely in New York City. After a short stay in Kansas, his mother eventually settled in New Mexico, where Billy would earn his fame. Hardly a moron, Billy received at least some formal schooling while he lived in Silver City, New Mexico. Until the death of his mother in 1874, Billy led a fairly normal life for a youth living on the Western frontier in the days of the Wild West. More...

Stories of Gold
Exploring an old prospector's stone house

Profile of a Desert Prospector - Young men, with little future in impoverished rural communities and fields in the East and the Old South, spoke of little else. They said that miners had already dug several million dollars worth of gold out of California’s hills and mountains (at a time when a dollar had 25 times the value of today’s dollar). Why, a preacher himself had said that one party had found more than 76 thousand dollars worth of gold in less than two months. One man, he had said, had found more than five thousand dollars worth in two months. A 14-year-old boy had found more than three thousand dollars worth in only 54 days. A woman – a mere woman – had found two thousand dollars worth in six weeks. Surely any man willing to work hard could get rich. That’s what everybody said. More...

Dazzling Predators

Dragonfly The Dragonfly - Like the birds and butterflies, the dragonflies of the desert come in vibrant colors. They fly; they have interesting life histories and amazing behaviors. When they emerge from their natal waters, they change from ugly aquatic nymphs to beautiful, dazzling, flying predators. You can see them during the spring, summer and early fall months.The desert species of dragonflies vary in size from the giant darner, which at nearly six inches is the largest in North America, to the citrine forktail, a damselfly, that at less than one inch is North America’s very smallest. Both of these species are desert specialists preferring arid lands with warm waters. All the in-between sizes are present too, with many shapes and a variety of hues represented. More...

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Last Week's Top Story

7 Apps for Primitive Camping

7 Apps that Make Primitive RV and Tent Camping More Fun - RV and tent camping in primitive areas can be a great experience if you are prepared. I remember the first time I rented an RV to go on an outing over a Thanksgiving holiday some years ago. The kids were out of school and we wanted to spend the long weekend in the desert. We decided to head out to the Coon Hollow Campground off the I-10, about 70 miles east of Palm Springs, CA to do some rock hunting. We'd look for geodes and gemstones and maybe even find some gold. We loaded up the 26 foot RV with supplies, filled the tanks with water, hooked up my CJ5 jeep to the trailer hitch, and off we went.

On board restrooms meant we didn't have to make any stops, so we got to the campground just about six hours later. We also didn't have a very good understanding of the limited capacity of the black water tanks; the warning light came on just as we arrived at the campground. The tank had to be dumped soon, the campground had no RV dump station, and there wasn't much water left in the tanks. More...

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DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. The desert is a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors and to spend time in recreational activities. You can camp, hike, bike, fish or just explore this unique environment found only in the American Southwest. DesertUSA has information on national parks, state parks, BLM land, and the Colorado River and its lakes. We also have articles about the cities and towns located in or near the desert regions. Use DesertUSA.com as a resource to explore the many adventures that await you in the desert.

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