Friday, November 12, 2010
BY THE TIME I GET TO ARIZONA
Thursday 11/11/10 We left Lordsburg NM at 9 am under a clear sky and 40 degree temp with a NW wind carrying a rather bracing chill. We rode west on Hwy 70 through a flat desert landscape that stretched to the base of distant mountains that seemed to surround us. The sky overhead was a deep blue that became a paler version near the horizon. Above the mountians in the west were clouds that reflected the colors of the peaks. There was so little traffic that the only constant sound was the wind. Four miles from the Arizona border, we turned right on SH92 that, after several miles, dropped sharply to the Gila River Valley. As we crossed the Gila today, it was difficult to comprehend that only 3 days ago we were hiking near the headwaters of this river. This fertile valley had fields of cotton, corn, and milo - crops that can be harvested mechanically. At one time vegetables were grown here that were harvested by migrant workers from Mexico. Due to the more stringent immigration policies, these laborers stopped coming. Unable to find red-blooded Americans willing to do this work, the farmers switched to crops that could be harvested by machine. We overnighted in Duncan Az that has a population of 800 and one hotel, the Historic Simpson established in 1914 and now being lovingly restored by Deborah Mendelsohn. Not only has Deborah taken on the Herclean task of restoration, but she also co-founded a farmer's market in Duncan and works to study the impact of ranching, farming, and recreation on the water qualtiy of the San Francisco River Basin. She impressed us as a person who with energy, creativity, and resourcefulness, makes her chosen corner of the planet a better place. The hotel is quiet, comfortable, and committed to sound ecological practices. Bed linen hangs on a line in the back yard beyond the reach of the resident billy goat.