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Author, historian to present in Roswell

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Lynda Sánchez teaches Garrett Jorgensen of Albuquerque on how to use an atlatl, which is a tool that uses leverage to throw a spear or dart. Garrett is one of the youngest cavers and is part of the several “Strong and Light Team” members who have made it to the 12-mile underground point at Fort Stanton Cave. (Submitted Photo)

Author and historian Lynda A. Sánchez will hold a program and book signing called “From Bootleg Whiskey, Billy & Apaches” to a potpourri of legend and lore from across the sacred mountain. Sánchez, who lives in Lincoln, will bring show-and-tell items for her program about the little-known aspects of storytelling, legends and information about some of our region’s heritage. The event will be held at 3 p.m. on Nov. 5 at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico, 208 N. Lea Ave., as part of the monthly Sunday Funday series.

Her program includes stories about bootleg whiskey, Billy the Kid and the Apaches to a potpourri of legend and lore from across the sacred mountain.

“Everything is interrelated. Some of it involves violence because it was a violent era, however there are many stories that involve humor and shared family values and work ethics that have been passed on to the ranching and farming communities surrounding the Roswell and Ruidoso areas,” Sanchez said.

During the program, Sánchez will hold a signing for her book, “12 Miles From Daylight,” which is about the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project and the Snowy River discovery. The book describes the various sections of the cave.

The cave is located between historic Lincoln and the village of Capitan.

For those who enjoy history and the vivid, colorful mosaic of geologic time, “12 Miles From Daylight” (Fort Stanton Cave and the Snowy River Discovery) will reveal an entirely different world for the reader.

Fort Stanton Cave, an extensive limestone cave, is the third-longest cave in the state and is important because of the discovery of the Snowy River passage, which was found to have flowing water during certain times. Modern-day speleologists (cave explorers) have been exploring its passages for more than 50 years and continue their explorations and study as part of the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project (FSCSP).

Team members are continuing the far south hydrological surveys on extended camp trips to Midnight Junction, so named because when discovered it was midnight during a 30-plus hour trip. The far end of Snowy River is at a place called 4:30 A.M. Junction.

A major facet of the FSCSP mission is to protect and preserve this area. They are just beginning to understand the historic usage of the cave by the local populace starting in the 1850s and before that, the Native Americans (Jornada Mogollon and Apache). Preserving this evidence is one of the FSCSP’s goals. In support of the strong interest of conservation of the resource the FSCSP is working closely with the Conservation Lands Foundation.

Fort Stanton Cave and the Snowy River passage mean different things to different folks, whether they are locals, visitors coming from far-away lands, caving enthusiasts or our Texas neighbors. At present, the cave is closed to the general public because of the white nose syndrome, a deadly disease that affects North American bats. It is hoped that in the near future tours will be once again allowed and permitted by the BLM.

Sánchez’s 150 stunning color photos have been selected from the FSCSP’s 50,000 photo archive. The book includes over 300 pages, maps, historic scenes, images of fossils and other delicate formations, indexes and appendices as well as a uniquely designed fold-out map of the entire cave.