Delores Mountain is named for a tall, dark-haired, beautiful woman named Dolores Gavino Doporto. Although very beautiful, Dolores was a sweet, simple village girl who took a job as a servant in the large house of a prosperous rancher. In the year 1854, Dolores met and fell deeply in love with Jose, a handsome shepherd boy who tended a large herd of sheep in a nearby valley. The two seemed made for each other and they planned to marry and raise a family.
The only thing that kept the couple apart was Jose's job. He had to spend many days and nights tending the sheep, guarding them from wolves and moving them from pasture to pasture so they could graze. Sometimes it would be weeks between the times the young lovers could be together in each other's arms. To show their continuing love and devotion to each other, every Thursday night, Dolores would climb to the top of the mountain near the ranch house where she worked and light a fire of brush and fallen tree limbs. Jose would build an answering fire in the valley. The fires let each know the other was safe, still very much in love, and anxiously waited for the day they would have saved enough money to begin their life together and never again be apart.
One Thursday night, Dolores climbed the mountain and lit her fire, but there was no answering fire from the valley below. Dolores stayed all night, feeding her fire with a dwindling supply of tree branches, but when the morning sun began to peek above the horizon, she knew without a doubt that something horrible had happened to Jose. She rushed back to the ranch house and with tears streaming down her face, begged her employer to mount a hunt for her betrothed.
It took two days, but the group of hired hands and other local ranchers found the mutilated body of Jose several miles from his flock. It was evident the Apaches had also seen the fires and had attacked, tortured and killed the hapless sheepherder.
Dolores was heartbroken and utterly despondent. She lost all joy in life and although she managed to go about her daily chores, there was no life in her eyes. The villagers prayed for Dolores, that her heart might one day begin to heal, but their prayers went unanswered. Several months later, there had been no improvement in her demeanor when one Thursday night, she stole away, climbed the mountain and lit a fire for Jose. It became her sad ritual to again climb the mountain every Thursday as she had when her love was alive, to build a fire and sadly stare off into the distance waiting for an answering flame which would never come.
|Top of Dolores Mountain|
Poor Dolores has been dead for many years now, but on those Thursday nights when nothing, not even a sliver of a moon lightens the dark sky, the flickering light from her fire can be seen on top of Dolores Mountain. If you climb to the top of the mountain the day after the fire is seen, you will find the ashes of her fire scattered about by the strong West Texas wind. And if you look closely, perhaps you will also find bits of wood charred and blackened by the fire kept burning by a sad woman whose love will never die.