III - The Aubry Route - Oklahoma
Study of the Fort Aubry Trail

     The route moves to the south-southwest from the creek for approximately 300 yards and there it enters Cimarron County, Oklahoma. [1] Once in Oklahoma the trail continues to follow the canyon through much rough terrain and weaves its way across the northeast quarter of section 15 {T6N R5E}. [2]

     From this point the trail crosses into the southwest quarter of section 15 {T6N R5E} on its extreme northeast corner and follows the creek bed and canyon southwesterly to the southern edge of the quarter. At a point approximately 200 yards from its eastern edge, it crosses into the northwest quarter of section 22 {T6N R5E} and moves southwest through the quarter to a position about 300 yards from the western edge on the southern boundary where it goes over into the southwest quarter of section 22 {T6N R5E} and moves along it western border. It goes to the southern edge and there it crosses into the northwest quarter of section 27 {T6N R5E}. At this point the route is running almost due south. [3] It gets gradually closer to the western border of the quarter as it progresses southward to its southern edge. At a point about seventy-five yards from its western edge, it crosses through the southern border of the quarter into the southwest quarter of section 27 {T6N R5E}.

     In this quarter the rout moves slightly westward to run along the section line of the 27th section {T6N R5E} and across it to the northwest quarter of section 34 {T6N R5E} along its extreme western boundary. It is still skirting the creek canyon. The route proceeds to cross the quarter at its southern edge where the terrain begins to change. The rough hills begin to give way to the flat river bottom land that marks the approach to the river. At the point where the trail reaches the southern edge of the northwest quarter of section 34 {T6N R5E}, it turns abruptly west-southwest and moves into the southeast quarter of section 33 {T6N R5E} and moves across it to a position on its western edge, about in the center.

     Then it goes on into the southwest quarter of section 33 and moves a little southwesterly through the quarter. It goes to its western border and then crosses into the southeast quarter of section 32 {T6N R5E}, through this quarter to its western edge, and then into the southwest quarter of this section it is running in a southwest-south course and by the time it reaches the western boundary it is only about thirty yards from its southern edge. As it moves into the southeast quarter of section 31 {T6N R5E}, the trail strikes the dry Cimarron River. It continues on, almost in the river bed, for approximately 300 yards until the river bends south away from it. The trail then moves from this quarter slightly south to cross over into the northwest quarter of section 6 {T5N R5E} to a point where it is in the northwest portion of the quarter.

     Here it is in the vicinity of Flag Spring where water was available the year around. From the spring the trail moves south-southwest into the northeast quarter of section 1 {T5N R4E} at its southeast corner. It then goes into the southeast quarter of section 1 {T5N R4E} in its eastern edge and moves to the south through the quarter to its southern edge where it moves into the northeast quarter of section 12 {T5N R4E}.

     The trail then turns slightly southwesterly in this quarter and crosses it to its southern edge approximately 200 yards from its eastern boundary. It moves into the southeast quarter of section 12 {T5N R4E} and moves toward the river. The trail strikes the river and goes across it on the southern edge of the quarter, just as it enters the northeast quarter of section 13 {T5N R4E}.

     The trail moves on gradually southwest across the quarter to a point about 150 yards from the western edge on the southern border. There it crosses into the southeast quarter of section 13 {T5N R4E}, moving still in a southwesterly direction. the trail goes into the southwest quarter of section 13 {T5N R4E} and moves south along the quarter's eastern edge into the northwest quarter of section 24 {T5N R4E}, and goes through the rough terrain of this quarter to its southern edge.

     Now it moves into the southwest quarter of section 24 {T5N R4E}, still in very rough country. This is again approaching the Cimarron River, and on leaving this quarter at its southern edge, the trail begins a westward movement, yet south, as it climbs to a higher ground. It moves into the northwest quarter of section 25 {T5N R4E} at its eastern edge and leaves the quarter at its southwestern edge, crossing into the northwest corner of the southwest quarter of section 25 {T5N R4E}. Then it enters the southeast quarter of section 26 {T5N R4E} in its northeastern corner. The trail moves west-southwest through this quarter to a position approximately 200 yards from its southern border.

     There it crosses into the southwest quarter of section 26 {T5N R4E} and moves southwest to the southwestern corner of the quarter, where it goes into the northeast corner of the northeast quarter of section 34 {T5N R4E}. It goes across this quarter to the southwest corner and there it enters the southwest corner, and moves then into the northeast corner of the northeast quarter of section 4 {T4N R4E}.

     In this quarter, after traveling southwest for approximately 200 yards, the Aubry Cutoff joins with the Cimarron Branch of the Santa Fe Trail at this point the two trails are just two miles east of Cold Spring campground. This campground was widely used by travelers on the Santa Fe Trail and was a very welcome sight to all of them. The campground was, and still is, something of an oasis in the stark southwest. The Cold Spring furnished plenty of cool, fresh water, and lush grass abounded in the meadow around the spring. There was shelter available to, from a large stone overhang shielding the valley. Most travelers spent several days at this campground, resting their animals and themselves, and readying their equipment for the rigors of the rest of their journey. [4]

     Many travelers, perhaps out of boredom, or maybe for amusement, or perhaps desiring to secure for themselves a permanent niche in the annals of Santa Fe Trail history, carved their initials, names, and addresses into the sandstone bluffs fluting the southwest edge of the campground. At any rate, the carving are still intact, and they prove to all who visit the area that they, whose initials remain grooved, where there before.


Looking to the southwest from the Cold Spring itself, the whole campground appears as shown. The area is like a shallow valley, very lush and green in comparison to the country in which it is located.


The constant supply of still, cool water, shown above, was a source of relaxation and refreshment for weary travelers on the Aubry Cutoff and on the Santa Fe Trail. This Cold Spring itself, as it is in the Cold Spring campground area, located on the Cross H ranch, northwest of Boise City, Oklahoma.

    Footnotes
  1. At the point where it crosses the state line the trail is approximately two and three-fourths miles east of the point where Highway 385-287, running between Springfield, Colorado and Boise City, Oklahoma crosses the state line. This is on the present Strong Ranch in Cimarron County, Oklahoma. In Oklahoma the terrain continues very rough as the trail moves toward the Cimarron River.
  2. The base line for surveying changes when crossing into Oklahoma. The southern boundary of the panhandle is used to measure to the north. Also, the west boundary serves as a meridian line, (known ads the Cimarron Meridian) for measurement to the east.
  3. At this point the trail is approximately three-quarters of a mile east of present Highway 3-287 and running parallel to it in a north-south fashion.
  4. Cold Spring Campground now is located on private property, the Cross H Ranch, managed by Walter Tandy. The area is relatively untouched and much as it was a hundred years ago. The ranch is seven miles north and seven miles west of Boise City, Oklahoma, via county and private roads.
    Used With Permisssion of the Author:
    E. P. Burr

"Fort Aubry, Kansas"
Back To Start Page




Santa Fe Trail Research Site

Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.
© "Forever"