National Geographic : 1920 Jul
ALONG OUR SIDE OF THE MEXICAN BORDER a point 6,600 feet above the sea, marking the continental divide. When that re doubtable outlaw, "The Apache Kid," led his renegade Chiricahuas, they made this locality their rendezvous; and through this same San Luis Pass runs the old emigrant trail. Slightly west of the Io8th meridian, the line turns at right angles and runs south for a few miles, thence west again. In the San Bernardino Valley the line strikes the first running water after quit ting the Rio Grande-192 miles to the east. Here rises the famous Yaqui River, that long, crooked stream that meanders through the vast Mexican State of So nora and through the turbulent Yaqui Indian zone, finally emptying into the Gulf of California below Guaymas. Thousands of cattle find pasture around the marshy flats of this San Bernardino Valley, and here an old Spanish trading post lies in ruins. In the whole 700oo-mile stretch from the Rio Grande to the Pacific, this line crosses only five permanent running streams, and the average rainfall throughout its length is only eight inches. This border was first fixed by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and sub sequently modified by the Gadsden Treaty, or "The Treaty of Mesilla." In 1891-1896 a new joint commission erected the present monuments, the origi nal heaps of stone having in many places been tampered with or carried away by prospectors for use as mine-boundary markers. These modern tombstone-like obelisks are made of rock where rock is available; in other places cast-iron monu ments are set up on cement pedestals. They are never more than five miles apart. Save the hamlets of Columbus and Hachita, the New Mexican section of this border is almost uninhabited. WHEN APACHE HUNTING WAS THE GREAT SPORT Hurdling this line in pursuit of Geron imo and his Apaches was for years a favorite outdoor army sport in these parts; but nowadays most ambitious resi dents are mining copper, roping and branding cattle, or fussing with irriga tion ditches. Around the camps and corrals, how- ever, many grizzled freighters and post traders of earlier days are still loitering; and, true to form, they would rather talk of outlaws, stage-robbers, and historic killings than listen to a farm adviser tell how to outwit weevils or vaccinate a heifer. One of these old-timers told me how he once slew eight broncho Apaches, and then hung them up by their feet to a stout mesquite tree near Lochiel; and that same night a hastening party of Las Cruces peddlers, bound for Hermosillo with a wagon-load of calico, came up and unwittingly camped almost beneath the live oak where the dead Apaches were hanging. Suddenly discovering the ter rifying display, the peddlers hastily hitched up and did not make camp till they reached Magdalena, miles to the south. Today the tamed Apache up around Globe is about the most trustworthy, dili gent, and industrious farm laborer to be found in the State; and the two-gun man has gone to the movie studios of Califor nia, where the risk is nil and the stakes more certain. Freight wagons along the border are replaced by big auto-trucks, and the old trails are turned into motor highways covered with "camping-out" trippers whose cars bear pennant labels of towns from Peoria to Pasadena. PUBLIC BATHS WHERE COYOTES RECENTLY ROAMED Not long ago coyotes were chasing horned toads over an empty desert where Douglas now stands, with libraries, coun try clubs, theaters, a great Y. M. C. A., public baths, street-cars, and a hotel that might have been lifted bodily out of Cleveland or Kansas City. The giant smelters at Douglas have run day and night since they were built, a dozen years ago, and have handled thousands of trainloads of ores from Bis bee and Nacozari (in Sonora). At night white-hot streams of molten slag, pour ing on the dumps, throw great light flashes against the sky, remindful of Pittsburgh. During a six months' busy period in 1916 the "Copper Queen" and "Calumet and Arizona" smelters handled 131,000,000 pounds of copper, which at, say, 25 cents a pound, would give a value of $32,000,000.