For the past several years, the area between the Arizona/New Mexico state line and the small, struggling village of Magdalena, NM has seen me and mine pass through about four times. Catron County is one of the Land of Enchantment’s sparsely populated areas, at least in terms of humans. I seem to encounter more mule deer, elk, raccoons and coyotes here than anywhere else I’ve been in New Mexico. Then again, most of my journeys there have been in Navajo country, Albuquerque or eastward along I-40 or I-10.
Catron is known for its embrace of the Sagebrush Rebellion, not so many years back, but I’ve yet to meet an ignorant, unmannerly or hot-tempered soul here. I can camp at Jackson Park, in Pie Town, sleep in at Largo Motel, and get a wholesome meal either at the Largo Cafe, both in Quemado, or at Eagle Guest Ranch, about twenty miles further east, in Datil.
The Eagle is shown above. For equity’s sake, let’s look at the Largo and at Jackson Park.
Excuse the small cameos of Largo, I extrapolated them from flickr, which does not lend itself to exporting photos very well, to other media .
One other vignette about Catron folks. On my way back down to Arizona, coming as I was to help with the Prescott Red Cross Evacuation Shelter, I needed gas, and badly. With only loose change and trusted plastic in my pocket, it was rather disconcerting to find all electronic services were out of commission, county-wide, due to some problem or another with an accident in Red Hill, Catron’s westernmost town along US 60.
After several attempts at jump-starting her computer, the lady at Rico of Quemado let me gas up, in return for which I was to mail her a check from Prescott. Of course, the sheriffs of Catron and Yavapai would have seen to it that I kept my word, but it wasn’t necessary. That’s not who I am, and the check went out two days later.
The point is, one doesn’t come across a more civilized place than the next door neighbour to our White Mountain region, itself quite a neighbourly area. I will always feel there are friends in Catron.