National Geographic : 1948 Dec
A Woolly Army in Single File Follows Its Leaders into a New Mexico Canyon .. . This herd, photographed six miles east of Gallup, ekes out a living on ranges so dry that cattle or horses might go hungry. farmers who thought they lived in Mexico woke up to find themselves in Texas, or vice versa. On our map you see this Rio Grande rising away up on the Continental Divide, in south western Colorado, near where 11 members of Col. John C. Fremont's party froze to death in 1848 when hunting a pass through which a railroad might be built to California. The whole tortuous course of this troubled river was traced in 1938 by the National Geographic Society.* From a rocky land of trembling aspens, beavers, blizzards, and mountain sheep the party worked its long way down to the hot, lush lowlands of Mata moros bullfights, Brownsville orange groves, Gulf hurricanes, pelicans, and tarpon. On their way, Indian guides killed three moun tain lions, which we helped eat. You don't realize how wild much of America still is till you explore certain remote areas of this Southwest. Parts of Utah are so over run with crop-robbing deer that farmers are frantic. In other places you may ride 50 miles and never see a house. Mountain lions are so numerous that in some rougher regions it's almost impossible to raise colts. Often you see full-grown horses with their backs all scratched up from attacks by these big cats. Many cross over from Mexico to hunt meat on our border cow ranches. You see their tracks along stream beds. On a few mountain paths, as in the Texas Big Bend, you should watch your step, lest you put your foot in a lion trap which some out raged rancher has set for a bold marauder that has been killing his stock. Each year Uncle Sam's official hunters of these predators kill them by dozens. A Frontier That Made History In southern New Mexico, near El Paso, the international line crawls from the Rio Grande and starts west, overland. Here stands Monu ment Number One, the first in a long string of stone and iron obelisks which marks the land boundary extending westward. So that smugglers, customs guards, cowboys, and Im migration Service "line riders" may know just where the border runs, these monuments are set at frequent intervals. * See "Down the Rio Grande." by Frederick Sim pich, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, October, 1939.