A Dance With Death

My first real trip into the Sonoran desert began innocuously enough. In February the weather was still cool enough to be comfortable and I was excited to get back into exploring the abandoned mines that I fell in love with in New Mexico.

After making my way across a sandy wash choked with mesquite I began to see evidence of the old mining operation. A tiny cluster of shoddy huts and long streamers of tailings coming from the cliffs were a giveaway. The tiny openings, just black dots in the high cliff walls beckoned me to return to the earth. It had been a long time.

These mines appeared to be untouched in decades. primitive camping supplies, pans, pots, carbide lamps and shovels lay strewn about the gaping openings in the hillsides. Entering the mine the temperature dropped noticeably and I recalled the dust that permeated these artificial passages. After exploring the tunnels grit cakes at the corners of my eyes, crunches between my teeth, and cakes inside my ears. I feel like I'm being buried with the strange artifacts I find.

Finally on my way out I pass through a once grand hallway, supported by huge timbers. While I gaze in admiration the columns which have held so long, a testament to the ingenuity and determination of their builders begin to perform a strange dance; twisting back and forth, dust pours loose from ceiling. My heart catches in my throat and I'm torn between running for the opening, now visible just under 50 yards away, or freezing and hoping the columns hold as they have for a hundred years.

My indecision makes the choice for me as huge boulders start tearing loose from the ceiling. The noise is so loud that like an airplane it fades away and becomes silent even as the earth seems to heave around me. The air fills with the choking dust and the faint light of the opening disappears. Ine the gloom my light feebly tries to pierce I can only see the swirling clouds of dust and hear the thunder cracks of splintering wood.

As the dust finally settled I looked at the destruction around me, only a few pillars remained the rest pulverized into so many toothpicks by the rocks around them. In the distance I could once again see a needlelike shaft of light. Creeping on all fours, with tears streaking the dirt coating my I found that the opening remained intact enough to release me. Again I narrowly escaped a would be tomb and moving into the harsh light of the desert sun tears continued to burn my eyes.




See the world, they
told me...

bayou goula towhead

the sea test

the circumnavigator pt5
the circumnavigator pt4
the circumnavigator pt3
the circumnavigator pt2
the circumnavigator pt1
falling dream
the darkness
one hell of a mile 3&4
he will return
the believers
the horror pt2
the horror pt1
death valley

paradise of outlaws
the mountain climbers 1&2
brought to surface
one hell of a mile 3
the lost world
inner gorge
a ghost story
the riddle
slaying the minotaur
heart of darkness
public lands
organ music
two sought adventure
the virgin river
the road north

steal the world
the end of the world
el dorado
the valley of the kings 2
the valley of the kings 1
one hell of a mile 2
one hell of a mile 1
the mountain climbers rr4
heroes rr3
rainy roadtrip 2
rainy roadtrip 1
the transgression
sinister 2
sinister 1
new chapter

like sedona?
torn in two
bridge to nowhere
the door
hitting the wall
elusive 2
elusive 1
pick up lines

revisited 2
revisited 1
which way?
lost mines
in their footsteps
a dance with death

casting the bones
mountain thief
the deer hunter
strange temple
burial pt. 3
burial pt. 2
burial pt. 1
the apparition
return to hell
the lower depths
underground lake
stretch sewer
the hidden lab
shadow movements
meager rations
sw8: the conclusion
sw7: lost gold mines
sw6: the big tubes
sw5: gold!
sw4: el calderon
sw3: redondo
sw2: ghosts
sw1: westward bound
formaldehyde dreams
the underdark
in the beginning