The Irises at the Domingo Baca Cabin

On May 2, 2020 I was hiking with my buddy Wiyo and we had lunch near the "stone cabin" along the Domingo Baca Trail (No. 230). A few meters from that ruined structure I saw clusters of iris plants. Clearly, these were not the wild irises found in the Sandia Mountains, but domestic irises, which someone must have planted. But who planted them?


I'm a retired archaeologist, and to me the structure doesn't look like the ruins of a stone cabin. Instead, I suspect, someone built an rough but usable partial shelter. The cabin is in the lower part of Domingo Baca Canyon, along the route to the TWA crash site. When you encounter the cabin (and the irises), you're well within the Sandia Mountain Wilderness.


Popular lore sometimes attributes the cabin to Domingo Baca, the same person after whom the canyon is named. He's described as a sheep herder. Perhaps that's true, but I've never encountered a shred of evidence to support the story. Still, at some time in the past, someone planted domestic irises near the shelter. Presumably someone who was using the shelter as a seasonal dwelling.