Victorio Peak, a craggy outcropping of rock barely five hundred feet tall, lies in
the center of a dry desert lake known as the Hembrillo Basin. Beyond the Hembrillo Basin is a hundred mile stretch of desert known as the
Jornada del Muerto. Victorio Peak, located in northern Dona Ana County, now lies within the White Sands Missile Range in south central New Mexico.
However, long before Victoria Peak was encompassed by the government, a man by the
name of Milton Ernest "Doc" Noss spent some time exploring Victorio Peak while on a deer hunt.
Doc Noss was born in Oklahoma and traveled all over the Southwest seeking excitement. In 1933, he married Ova
"Babe" Beckworth and the two settled down in Hot Springs, New Mexico,
which later changed its name to Truth or Consequences.
In November 1937, Doc, Babe, and
four others left on a deer hunt into the Hembrillo Basin. Setting up camp on the desert floor at the base of Victoria Peak, the men headed into
the wilderness, while their wives stayed at camp. Hunting by himself, Doc scouted the base of the mountain. When it began to rain, Doc sought
shelter under a rocky overhang near the summit of the mountain. While waiting for the rain to subside he noticed a stone that looked as if it
had been "worked" in some fashion. Reaching down, he was unable to budge it, but after digging around the rock, he got his hands
under it. Lifting the rock, he found a hole that lead straight down into the mountain.
Peering into the darkness, Doc saw an old
man-made shaft with a thick, wooden pole attached at one side. Doc thought that he had discovered an old abandoned mineshaft. When the rain
finally stopped, Doc returned to camp, telling Babe of the discovery. The two decided to keep the discovery between themselves and return to
the inspect the shaft later.
Within just a few days, Doc and Babe were
back at the site with ropes and flashlights. Testing the old wooden pole attached to one side of the passage, Doc rejected the idea of using
it dropped into the shaft with a rope instead. While Babe looked on from above, Doc inched his way down the narrow passageway into the mountain
nearly sixty feet. Near the bottom, he encountered a huge boulder hanging from the ceiling, almost blocking his way.