The Road Less Traveled: Madrid Cemetery

The elevation of the town of Madrid is 6,020 ft. but if you want to see the cemetery, you’ll end up going quite a bit higher than that. If you navigate off of Hwy. 14 on to the “back road” through Madrid, and don’t mind some really rough spots on a gravel road that climbs the steep hill, you will be rewarded with a wonderful view of New Mexico sky and a cemetery you’ll never forget.

IMG_1487The south end has the miner’s graves and the north end has the cowboy/hippie graves. These first three photos are from the old section.

IMG_1520The cemetery is actually on private land, and in the video link you’ll get a glimpse of a huge white house in the background where the owner lives. But he’s not going to disturb this place or cause a problem for the people in Madrid who want to use it.

IMG_1517I’ve gotten hooked on looking up satellite views lately.  A satellite view of the area shows the difference in the crowded older section where the miners are buried (trees there) and the more open space in the newer hippie/cowboy section. If you click on the link and zoom in, the cemetery is to the left of the red balloon.  Satellite View.

IMG_1533For an overview of the whole area, take a look at the video I’m linking to at the end.  First, here are a series of photos of the cowboy/hippie graves. If you click on each picture you won’t miss any details.

IMG_1501                                                                            Dreams.

IMG_1496 - Copy

IMG_1497                   Little Mike, Miguelito Littlefoot. He was a little different.

IMG_1494                                                               L. Titus.

IMG_1492                                                       “Derby” Jim Jackson.

IMG_1504Cowboy GreganAnn. They died together in a trailer fire. (I know this from watching the video.)

IMG_1508                Tina. One of the people in the video obviously misses her a lot.

IMG_1513                                                              Patricia Dolan.

IMG_1516                         Steven Soltow. “No Job.”   Onward Through the Fog.

IMG_1528                                               Riding in Front. Don Brown.


IMG_1499                                                                           Mom.

IMG_1491 - Copy      Larry Titus. Gone for Gas. Some great commentary about this one in the video.

IMG_1527                                             Bill Sage. Traveling the Highway.

IMG_1524                                                                     Sunshine.

IMG_1510                                                                            Jacque.

IMG_1495                                                 Peter Hodge “Madrid 49”.

IMG_1502                               Richard Tatrow. More about him in the video.

IMG_1515There used to be a couch sitting out there, too, but it’s gone now. You can see it in the video. These pictures were all taken in May of 2012.

IMG_1490 - CopyConnor Royal Quintana. Killed in an accident after he got out of prison. “Somebody really must have missed him?” “Yeah, his mom!”

There are a couple of reasons why you might want to watch the videos, at least the first one. (They are less than ten minutes each.)  First you’ll get a glimpse of part of the road going up the hill (although it’s too bad there is some awful cowboy music dubbed in on this part.)  But the best part  is that the visitors who did the film were being shown around by locals who knew the people and who also dug some of the graves. That provides an added perspective about the place that you just can’t capture in a few pictures; you need to hear these people talk about it. It’s very revealing about the kind of people who have made their home here and as well as the people whose graves are here.
Also, you’ll see what kind of physical place this is in a way I can’t capture in a photo. There are also a handful of comments that are worth reading. I hope you’ll check it out.

Part One:

Part Two:

IMG_1530I apologize for the lengthiness of this post, but this place, in spite of my only visiting it as a tourist,  is quite special to me. I think it shows a much more  human and humane way to deal with burial and grief than we usually find, and it’s beautiful there, too. Thank you to “Old Jules” at So Far From Heaven, for taking me there the first time several years ago.

If you’re on the Turquoise Trail, don’t miss it.



14 responses to “The Road Less Traveled: Madrid Cemetery

  1. Chances are I will never get on the Turquoise Trail, but has been a great Tour 1 and Tour 2. Thanks for that. 😀

  2. Reblogged this on So Far From Heaven and commented:
    Keith Kelt and I discovered this cemetery together back in ’92 or so. We used to go out exploring around Santa Fe in the 4WDs evenings after work when there was still plenty of daylight. Madrid was fun, but the cemetery’s in a class all its own. Jack

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed your photos and tour of the Turquoise Trail. For some reason I find cemeteries interesting and thought provoking, and this looks to be a fascinating one.

  4. Thanks for coming by, Trapper Gale, and I’m glad you liked it.

  5. Certainly a cemetery with ‘personality’ if you know what I mean. A lovely way of doing things.

  6. I enjoy strolling through old graveyards. The history of an area becomes more real doing that. I’ve never seen grave markers like these at Madrid Cemetary. Amazing.

  7. I couldn’t imagine that the graveyard could be better than the rest of the tour but it IS. Thanks, Jeanne.

  8. This is so beautiful! I’m glad I found it after having obviously missed out on it [on Mom’s birthday last year!]. Thanks for sharing it, Jeanne!

  9. Really nice description. I’ve been to
    Madrid few times & overwhelmed & unimpressed by new agey commerciality of it. But only recently heard about the cemetery(s) and now want to return — but w new eyes. Thx!

  10. Glad I found this on the web, went to school with both Dennis Soltow and his younger brother Steve, I knew Dennis was there(murdered in July 1982) but wasn’t aware that Steve was also there…..Thanks for this info

  11. Some great photos of the headstone/memorials. You captured the magic of it! Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s