The Oklahoma Panhandle was dubbed “No Man’s Land” in the late 1800’s because no state or territory claimed the land until it became part of Oklahoma Territory in 1890. The eastern end of the panhandled in dominated by irrigation farming and huge crop circles, while the drier western end it more dedicated to ranching. Most people picture the Oklahoma Panhandle and eastern New Mexico and eastern Colorado as “drive through” areas on their way to the spectacular vistas of the Rocky Mountains.
I have always been intrigued by this area of northeastern New Mexico, southeastern Colorado and the extreme tip of the Oklahoma Panhandle. As a young teenager my family would drive through the area often on the way to Colorado for camping and riding horses. Later with my own family, we would travel through the area on the way to skiing or dirt bike riding in the Rockies. But each time I passed through the area I would be intrigued by the landscape and what I considered the beauty of the area. For the past few years I have dedicated time to exploring the area rather than “passing through”.
Mouse over the pictures in the slideshow below to see captions.
The landscape is dominated by large ranches that stretch for miles. Before the advent of the automobile and modern paved roads, homesteaders staked their claim in this remote land and built small farm and ranch houses to work the land. But today with modern transportation you see far fewer inhabitable homes. Instead you see the ghosts of old homes, dilapidated and lost with dreams of yesteryear.
Ranching is the way of life now in this arid land. Cattle and horses are raised here. Calves are shipped to fatten on the wheat pastures in Oklahoma and Texas.