In another diversion from ‘Mexico in March,’ I need to break from the theme for my short little trip to Pinetop, Arizona. But hey – in an abstract kind of way, this territory was, once-upon-a-time, Mexican territory anyway.
On the long road north through Oracle and Catalina, the state route winds through a series of small mining towns, the first of which is a nearly-dead little hamlet called Mammoth. Several years ago, the smokestacks from the local smelt were dynamited and razed to the ground. Aside from local sheriffs patrolling the main roads and taking advantage of speed traps, there isn’t much here to speak of. Abandoned cars, heaps of illegally dumped garbage, and two gas stations represent most of what remains.
Once upon a time there was industry here. Today, it’s a way-station, a dusty relic from the early years of the twentieth century. Double-wide trailers and rusted pick-up trucks dot the landscape; plywood panels obstruct the busted windows of the failed and abandoned old-world businesses.
It has been about fifteen years since I passed through this territory. Even though the garbage, collapsing buildings, and general despair, I think this is a uniquely beautiful place. The trailers are rotting beer cans in the desert, corroded and sinking into the earth. The unforgiving landscape is slowly reclaiming the territory. The cops are bored and the locals, even more-so. But the expanding valley, stretching out to the north, still provides some of the most glorious sunsets a human being can witness.
SEE YESTERDAY’S IMAGE OF THE DAY
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