Town Of The High Plains

Central New Mexico is bleak, a monotonous region to traverse. Miles and miles of treeless rangeland punctuated by occasional drab little towns. I realize that the time of year had its effect, as spring comes late to the high plains. Scrubby junipers are the only green plants to be seen, and their shade of green is wan and subdued.

The weather was chill with blowing drizzle. Patches of hoarfrost contributed to the grim impression. A decidedly unfriendly landscape, but one subject to quick changes as volatile spring advances northwards in fits and starts. Three days from now the temperature is predicted to be in the seventies, but we will be hundreds of miles away by then.

Like most regions of the Western high plains this area has been depopulated in recent decades. We arrived in a typical central New Mexico town called Vaughn late yesterday afternoon and rented a motel room, although we had hoped to camp out. Camping would have been an exercise in asceticism!

We took a short walk in the gusty drizzle accompanied by Sage the collie and encountered some interesting ruined and abandoned buildings. I returned later to shoot some photos after my feet had warmed up in the motel room.

I like scenes like this, evidence of more prosperous times during a brief post-settlement period before mechanized agriculture changed the region for good. I can visualize these buildings as they must have looked during those times.

Here’s the side of a long-defunct lumberyard and hardware store; nice painting of a pipe wrench weathering away!

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This garage and gas-station is lacking a functional roof, but the stucco-coated adobe-like walls are still standing true:

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I walked around back and found a doorless opening. Stepping over rusted automotive debris I poked around, eventually finding a garage bay full of junk and old vehicles about as old as I am. Light and drizzle filtered in through gaping holes in the roof. I liked this sedentary pickup truck:

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Years ago someone thought this tank-like sedan could be repaired. Something happened (perhaps the proprietor died or fled?) and there it sits, still jacked up:

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Across the street is a squat and sturdy church, evidently still in use. I could imagine a dialog between church elders when the building’s construction was being contemplated:

“We should have a tall steeple, a sign of the extent of our faith!”

“Oh, come on Charlie! With the winds we get here? No, we should be modest in the face of such tumult. A low steeple might stand for years. We don’t want to tempt fate, now do we?”

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Larry

2 comments to Town Of The High Plains

  1. Bev says:

    super photos, Larry. Especially like the first photo of the old pickup truck. Vaughn is one of the many little towns of the southwest that are cool to photograph. Almost ghost towns.

  2. Rodney says:

    I’ll have to send the photo of the 2 door sedan to a friend who has driven only 2doors all his life. He’ll love it. Looks like a late 50s Ford.

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