After locating zero elk from the north side of 16B we packed up camp & decided to move southward to check other areas. Heading west on NM-159 there’s a cool little mining ghost town called Mogollon, New Mexico.
Evidence of the old mining operations are scattered about town and include mine/cave entries like this one that are carved right into the mountainside.
Our main goal today was a visit to The Purple Onion Cafe for some food that is more substantial than granola bars and other junk we’ve been eating at camp.
Right in the front window is a sign that says “Voted best green chile cheeseburger in Catron County”. As a flatlander I don’t get many chances for fresh green chiles so this was a no-brainer.
As you can see it was a good decision – several strips of good quality bacon, a charred Hatch green chile fileted on top of a 1/3 lb burger with fresh potato salad on the side. I’d make a road trip back for one of these.
OK back to the other scenery. Bursum Road / NM-159 is the single main road going through town and is practically a single lane. Houses & old businesses line the edges and most of them aren’t open to the public. The town flooded back in 2013 and stranded residents but has since been repaired to improve drainage and protect from further erosion damage.
Right across the street from Purple Onion is the Old Kelly Store and Mogollon Woodworks – both closed but fun to look at the old buildings.
Just down the road is an old private residence that is the epitome of what you could imagine an old mining town house would be on the main street. The entire town was added to the National Register for Historic Places in 1987 for this architectural and industrial legacy.
Next door is a large adobe/stucco building painted with J.P. Holland General Store across the front. Several buildings are restored like this one but still conform to older stylings.
Near the west end of town are some old mining rail cars, an old car chassis, and other miscellaneous metal relics in a gravel lot. Silver mining was the big business here and they also found some gold. Mining died off due to several factors including Black Lung disease, diminished profitability after WWI, and a huge fire in 1942.
Another angle of the same rail cars and the building next to them (can’t recall if this was labeled, possibly was the mining operation headquarters but not sure). You can also see how Bursum Road winds up the mountain & through the small town.
From here we headed out & searched for our next stop. Cell reception kicked in and I got bad news that I was close contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19. We ended up getting a room at the Double T Catwalk Resort and I decided the only logical option was for me to drive all the way back home (New Mexico wasn’t doing elective testing at the time unless you were actually sick). Needless to say this sucks and ruined my trip but also left my dad hanging which is what I felt worst about. Thankfully I tested negative once back home but if people had worn masks as directed at the time I could have finished my trip.
Get vaccinated, wear masks, and be safe everyone. More travels ahead.
Lat = 33.397831 , Long = -108.7967987 -- Show at Google Maps
Author’s Note: Due to my lazy nature and/or busy schedule, I’m posting this from the future in July 2021. Original visit date September 6, 2020 which is during the time that the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing. I was travelling solo and always masked up when not outdoors and socially distanced. Sadly my trip got derailed due to close contact with infected parties and I had to bail out early (luckily I tested negative upon return). Needless to say this wasn’t my favorite trip and I’ve been putting off posting it. Anyways, enjoy it now, travel safely, and get vaccinated.