We-Hin-Ah-Pay’s location is rich with history-- “The Place Where The Morning Sun Gathers.” Come walk the trails of prehistoric man, of the Apaches, the Spanish Conquistadors, mountain men, Buffalo Soldiers, cowboys and outlaws. Man first camped in the Sacramento Mountains thousands of years ago. Spanish Conquistadors explored these canyons and mountains looking for riches. Apache Indians lived nearby before Columbus discovered the new world. Geronimo is said to have camped in the area. Now it is your turn to walk these trails of mountain adventure.
The name “We-Hin-Ah-Pay” has been used for Conquistador Council summer camps since the first camp was conducted at Pine Lodge in 1925, at the foot of Boy Scout Mountain, in the shadow of lofty Capitan Peak, and again in 1926 at Ruidoso, using the same name. We-Hin-Ah-Pay came to the Sacramento Mountains in 1927 on property purchased from local families.
“The (first staff) began to look the area over. They noted the beautiful grove of aspen and the large Douglas firs. They hiked up to the spring and marveled at the cool, clear water gushing out of the rocks. They continued on up the canyon to the Calkins place. It was a good hike and they began dreaming of the possibilities of a camp program that would appeal to our Scout troops. Here indeed was a setting that gave great opportunities for hiking, nature study, forestry, and scout crafts needed along the advancement trail.
“Pioneers had found this canyon many years before. The little cultivated patches were used to grow grain- generally oats. The cellars in the hillsides were necessary to store the potatoes and other vegetables… Because of the quality and quantity of potatoes grown in this canyon, it became known by the early settlers as Potato Canyon… To include a little history of the countryside was a goal of these (young camp staff). Pioneers interested them but they kept coming back to the Indians… The boys also discussed the early explorers. Cabeza de Vaca’s 1535 expedition took him up the Pecos then over the mountains by way of the Penasco to what is now El Paso.”
The Saga of Potato Canyon, Minor Huffman