El Malpais

UncleMatt

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I was given a treasure tale pamphlet by a friend in Grants called "The Elusive Malpais Treasure". It mentions a trail called El Encierro, which had an empty whiskey bottle hanging from a tree at its entrance into the lava. Its supposed to be 3 miles from the Arossa Ranch, which would place it on the north side of the lava flow. I have been meaning to spend more time exploring the Malpais, and thought it would be fun to try to find this elusive trail. It was used by sheepherders to get to access areas in the lava field that had grass and dirt enclosed by the lava field. Thus the name "encierro", or enclosure. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would be much obliged.
 

hvacker

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Looking at the BLM map I can understand why Mesita Blanca might have been called El Encerro as
that's where it ends up. The trail goes on past the lave flows to what looks to be part of the BLM Wilderness West.
If you could obtain this map from the BLM it could be helpful.
It's called El Malpais Recreational Guide Map issued by the BLM.

The topographic changes at where El Encerro is as the map goes East becoming BLM. I could imagine possible grazing there.
I can't find and ranches mentioned so maybe more than one map is needed. There are several patented lands throughout the trail's beginning. But like said on this map there is only one reference to El Encerro I could find.
 

UncleMatt

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I have looked at that map and it shows trails that do not match the description of the El Encierro trail described in the pamphlet. I am also trying to figure out which area in the malpais is the REAL Little Hole in the Wall. I see 2 different areas labelled as such in BLM maps from different time periods.
 

hvacker

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I have understood some maps dilbertly try to throw off seekers to keep their own secret.
Hope that's not the case. How was this pamphlet obtained? Do you know the date?
 

UncleMatt

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The pamphlet was written by Martin Chavez and published in 1997 by Habiger's Printing Service in Grants, NM. Its called "The Elusive Malpais Treasure". Turns out the family of that man bought the property along the north side of the malpais where they think the treasure is located.
 

sdcfia

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I have looked at that map and it shows trails that do not match the description of the El Encierro trail described in the pamphlet. I am also trying to figure out which area in the malpais is the REAL Little Hole in the Wall. I see 2 different areas labelled as such in BLM maps from different time periods.


Too many choices? Here's four that may apply.

lhitw.jpg
Little Hole in the Wall 1, per USGS, N34.9225º, W107.9701º (34107H8, Arrosa Ranch NM, NAD27)


lhithw2.jpg
Little Hole in the Wall 2, per USGS, N34.91365º, W108.09756º (34108H1, Ice Caves NM, NAD83/WGS84)


hitw1&2.jpg
Holes in the Wall 1 and 2, per USGS, N34.86347º, W108.02891º (34108G1, Ice Caves SE NM, NAD83/WGS84)
 

UncleMatt

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Sdcfia, I believe the first one among those is correct. I am currently working on locating the author in the Grants area. The story centers around gold smelter robbery and a 20 mule pack train. But I am unaware of any gold smelters in the Grants area however, so if anyone knows of one please post about it.
 

UncleMatt

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The story I was looking into was from a pamphlet printed in 1997 by a long time Grants citizen that I referred to earlier, but yesterday I came across another tale included in the same booklet. Oddly enough, it revolves around 3 men who supposedly robbed a train in Grants, NM of $100,000 in gold coins and then stashed them along the edge of the malpais in a deep hole. Can anyone verify that such a robbery ever occurred in Grants? It probably would have occurred in the late 1800's. I will ask my local contacts and see if they can shed any light on that. But a robbery of that size in Grants, NM during that era would have been splashed all over the newspapers if it ever went public. However, the guy telling the story claims the railroad and the authorities swept everything under the rug so that others would not be tempted to try the same thing in the future. Sounds like the plot from a paperback western if you ask me.
 
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sdcfia

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The story I was looking into was from a pamphlet printed in 1997 by a long time Grants citizen that I referred to earlier, but yesterday I came across another tale included in the same booklet. Oddly enough, it revolves around 3 men who supposedly robbed a train in Grants, NM of $100,000 in gold coins and then stashed them along the edge of the malpais in a deep hole. Can anyone verify that such a robbery ever occurred in Grants? It probably would have occurred in the late 1800's. I will ask my local contacts and see if they can shed any light on that. But a robbery of that size in Grants, NM during that era would have been splashed all over the newspapers if it ever went public. However, the guy telling the story claims the railroad and the authorities swept everything under the rug so that others would not be tempted to try the same thing in the future. Sounds like the plot from a paperback western if you ask me.

I've not had a lot of luck verifying events such as this in old newspapers online. There is a lot available from many papers, but a many publications went out of business years ago and old issues are frequently not included in the online databases. That means that a researcher might need to find another source for copies of the old papers. Where? County courthouse clerk's record vaults, libraries, museums that keep research material, compendiums, etc - original copies and microfiches generally. I've got a couple tales I'd like to confirm that occurred in Lordsburg NM, but I guess they're not important enough yet to warrant the effort.
 

ManMule

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NM born, long-standing Grants resident.
Gus Ramey had two sons drowned in pond in Malpais area, mother son lived in Gullop,NM
Daughter married Joe weather lived down behind ice caves off of forest rd 42 townships 18 / 19. Twelve miles as crow flies to west.
Sleet Rainey Owens land there also close to creek a ranch.
Gus had Kin folk in Albuquerque name Tucker’s five boys three girls and myself fostered by Lora and liked by all the boys
Met Gus several times as kid in Albuquerque.
Came to Grants after military working as security. Bought land in Malpais by Joe and Gus daughter. 1986 they turn it to El Malpais
Monument
Gus did have gold coins, Spanish coins, he never told me where he got them. I newbetter to ask. He had his rules,
To me he was always a pleasant man. He was also a hard man real hard.
Gus had been law man in early years. Ft win gate was big towns. Acoma reservation on east Zuni on west. Strip of land in between
Was known as the strip. Out law country. More people lived in fence lake then . Than now. Magdalena was biggest town west of Mississippi River. Believe it or not
Gus knew Billy the kid did not die in July 14 ,1881, Gus die at 104 years old. Gus was born in 1876 and four years old.
Billy was also not buried in fort sumner. Gus knew billy the kid as John Miller lived at piscado,nm that is over by Ramha,no
He bought a ranch with his part of reward money from pat garret
Finely there is a gold mine in Malpais ,a old diggings found by Bruce, Clark in1984 he had partner to mine while he owned local gas station. The mine is not far from my place
ManMule
 

dougachim

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In November 1897, the last train robbery of the Santa Fe Railroad occurred near the malpais. While accounts differ, the perpetrators apparently belonged to the Black Jack Christian gang. Gang members boarded the eastbound train either before or at Grant's Station. About six miles east of Grant, the outlaws disengaged the baggage cars from the locomotive and express car. Using explosives, they blew apart the safe discovering $100,000 in gold and currency. The bandits headed south toward the malpais hoping to lose any would-be trackers in the gnarled lava beds. While some of the outlaws were apprehended, the whereabouts of the gold remained elusive giving rise to speculation that it is still hidden in the malpais. [30]

Accounts of buried gold in the malpais persist. The most notorious version of malpais gold is the chronicle of the "Lost Adams Diggings." According to local legends, freighter J.J. Adams had accompanied a party of miners into the malpais in 1864, to search for gold. The group discovered gold but in the process began to run low on provisions. Adams went to Fort Wingate to obtain supplies. On his return, he found all of his companions killed except for one by a band of Apaches. The two men buried the gold and managed to escape the wrath of the Apaches. Adams and his wounded friend, John Brewer, finally reached the sanctuary of Fort Apache, Arizona. While at Fort Apache, Adams allegedly shot an Indian in a dispute over a horse. Imprisoned, he was unable to return to the malpais to reclaim the gold. When Adams reappeared in the malpais some 20 years later, he failed to locate the site. Years of wandering over the rugged lava terrain yielded nothing and Adams left in frustration but not without implanting the seeds of gold legends in the malpais. [31]

Figure 5. In the lava beds of New Mexico, the rough, jumbled lava made a haven for outlaws and
spawned luried accounts of gold buried in the malpais.
Photo by W. Cal Brown, Courtesy Museum of New Mexico, Neg. No. 66552.
Lost Adams is not in the malpais it is near the VLA
 

dougachim

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sdcfia

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Nope they found the place near the VLA one of the items found was a spoon with the map carved on it, all the camps, and they found gold before the ranch sold. They are working with the new owner to get back on
Yeah, I've heard lots of these LAD stories. Book to follow, maybe? The Malpais, Alamacito, Pine Cienega, Black Range, Zuni Mountains, Navajo Res, Black Creek, Point of Pines, et al. The searchers all find gold somewhere, along with certain clues to match one the LAD stories. It's certainly not unusual in the Southwest to find some gold, but like the fines in my driveway here in Pinos Altos, it's rarely enough to spend time trying to recover. It's interesting to hear about all these LAD searches though - good luck to the guys and please keep us posted.
 

dougachim

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Yeah, I've heard lots of these LAD stories. Book to follow, maybe? The Malpais, Alamacito, Pine Cienega, Black Range, Zuni Mountains, Navajo Res, Black Creek, Point of Pines, et al. The searchers all find gold somewhere, along with certain clues to match one the LAD stories. It's certainly not unusual in the Southwest to find some gold, but like the fines in my driveway here in Pinos Altos, it's rarely enough to spend time trying to recover. It's interesting to hear about all these LAD searches though - good luck to the guys and please keep us posted Return to Lost Adams Diggings the Paul Hale Story a buddy from El Paso was involved.
 

Gold Maven

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my take on stories like this, is the unpaid posse caught them while risking their lives, and split the loot up between them.
 

dougachim

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My buddy worked with this guy for years looking for the mine. They had just bought a deep core drill when the owner died and it sold. They found everything on the map and gold but not the mine in the story.
 

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sdcfia

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My buddy worked with this guy for years looking for the mine. They had just bought a deep core drill when the owner died and it sold. They found everything on the map and gold but not the mine in the story.
I don't know why they'd need a core drill if they were looking for a placer gold deposit.

Was their map the "spoon with the map carved on it" that you mentioned in Post #54? How does the spoon connect with the original Adams prospecting party?
 

dougachim

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I don't know why they'd need a core drill if they were looking for a placer gold deposit.

Was their map the "spoon with the map carved on it" that you mentioned in Post #54? How does the spoon connect with the original Adams prospecting party?
I will have to dig out the book There was a map mentioned somewhere and the detail of the map were etched on the spoon. You want to talk to the guy ??? I can get you his #
 

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