November 11, 2005

Speaking at Center for Big Bend Studies Conference, Sul Ross University, Alpine, TX

I spoke at the Center for Big Bend Studies 12th annual conference today on Moser and the tramway. The talk was titled, "Finding Carlos: Uncovering the True Story of the Ore Terminal in Big Bend National Park." I think people liked it; I know I enjoyed it. I ran out of time, but at least I was able to tell Moserís story, from the time Louis Lyons goes down to Mexico and Meets Carlos Moser, to Moserís death. So I was able to paint the picture for the first chapter of the tramway.

What was so wonderful were all the people who came up to me afterwards to tell me their stories. Here are some snippets.

One women told me that the first towers on the US side were still standing 38 years ago (1967)!

Two gentlemen told me they hiked the trial up that big canyon that ends up winding up the wall you see when you look north from the last standing tower across a big canyon. To get to the trail head, they say look for a parking spot on the south side of the road after you pass Rio Grande Village. Park there and the trail is right across the street. They said it took them 45 minutes to hike to the beginning of the canyon, but they didn't go into the canyon and up the wall. From my measurements, they were anywhere from 1 to 2 miles from the trail head when they got to the canyon, depending on where they stopped. If you do this hike, get information from the park employees at Panther Junction. I havenít done the hike, so I canít give you anymore informationÖalthough I hope to do the hike some day. Using Google Earth, you can see a large scar on the southwest part of the canyon wall, near the last standing tower. My hypothesis is that this is where the cable engineer dragged the cables up the canyon wall. Hiking this trail could confirm or deny this hypothesis.

Another lady told me she fairly recently hiked to the ore terminal with her five year old grandson! They camped out at the ore terminal and then hiked from the ore terminal to Ernst Tinaja via the road leading away from the terminal going north. She said the hike from the ore terminal to Ernst Tinaja was fairly easy and that it took the morning.

Another gentleman told me he hiked the trail twice. When I asked him how long ago he hiked it the last time, he said, "Three years ago; and I got kind of winded. I was slow and the sun was going down. It was dark by the time I got to the wash [the final stretch of the hike before returning to the road]."

"Do you mind me asking how old you are?" I asked him.

He said, "78."

"And how old where you when first did the hike?" I asked him.

"Oh, I did the hike the first time six years ago!"

Hereís some great news. I have a picture on the site that's also in the February, 1911 article on the tramway showing a man and woman in an old time car in front of the cable terminal with a gentleman standing up. I've always wondered if that was Carlos and Aimee staring back at me. I finally met a gentleman I had been corresponding with over the Internet and he said, "That was my Uncle Alvie's car. He was a mechanic in Marathon and he told me the mining engineer had hired him to drive him and his wife to the cable terminal. That's the mining engineer and his wife in the picture."

So it is Carlos and Aimee...or most likely is. The man standing? Well, if you were to zoom in, it looks like he's wearing a badge on his left side, so I assume he was the customs inspector. I assume the person taking the picture was the driver, this gentleman's Uncle Alvie. My working hypothesis is that the woman in the car is Aimee Moser. Iím still note sure if Carlos Moser is the man in the car or the one taking the picture.

It was so great meeting people who were also interested in this. I've sometimes felt I was crazy. No...scratch that...I many times felt that I was crazy. But it was great to talk to people who shared my interest and great to hear the other presenters at the conference.

Posted by Joelg at November 11, 2005 10:07 PM | TrackBack
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