“Fence Lake, you will some day fade away.”

Fence Lake, New Mexico. May, 2019, photo by John Fleck

On New Mexico Highway 36, beneath the sign announcing your entry into the community of Fence Lake, someone has appended a small hand-lettered sign announcing, “NO FISHING”. This is appropriate, as there is no lake.

Fence Lake is remarkably self-aware. There’s an obelisk-ish monument in front of the former Fence Lake school (now a “community center”) with these words:

This marker will remain to honor those people who first came, those who left, those who stayed and those who returned. Fence Lake, you will some day fade away. Until then, this serves as a remembrance of the heart, soul and spirit of those who passed this way.

The fading seems well underway.


  1. Of course, that was Highway 32, not 36, when I was a kid, as was what is now 602 south out of Gallup. And, of course, Triple Six was still Six Sixty Six.

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