National Geographic : 1920 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE of well-to-do travelers now desert the comfortable Pullmans to motor along the borderland trails, following the old stage route past historic Tombstone and San Xavier. Most motor tourists, however, use the Santa Fe trail via the Petrified Forest, Flagstaff, and Needles. These motor trails are fairly well maintained and are amply marked with sign-boards as to direction, distances, and the prox imity of water and gasoline. BEEF IS EVERYWHERE No feature of the trip along this border from El Paso to Nogales is more amaz ing than the vast numbers of meat-bear ing animals to be observed. Besides introducing the horse, the provident Spaniard also brought cattle, sheep, and goats; and it is probably to Juan de Onate, who reached the South west about I598, that we owe our present wealth of mutton and beef. As the country was settled, cattle raising grew as an industry, and, there being no fences, the herder or cowboy was developed. From these Mexican or Spanish vaqueros we learned the use of the "rope," or lariat-corruptedfrom La Riata. From them, too, we learned to "cut" an animal from a herd, and to brand for identification. However, due to Indian raids, it was years after Americans entered this region before the cattle industry was safe enough to be profitable. After Kit Carson rounded up the Navajos at Bosque Redondo, and after Crook gave the Apaches a final walloping at Hell's Hip Pocket (near Fish Creek Hill, on the modern Apache motor road past Roosevelt Dam), the cowman's trade was easier. Then the rise of the cattle baron began. Might was law, and the sheepman and farmer were out of luck. Of course, law and order long ago in tervened, and the cow and sheep men no longer "draw" on sight and start shoot ing. But the cowpuncher still has his own opinion of any man who keeps a sheep! Feuds between rival cow camps are no more; it is no longer good form to brand the other fellow's calves, even if you can "get away with it." Border cat tlemen now have associations organized to secure better freight rates, protective laws, and cooperation in marketing cat- tie. Many cowmen run herds on both sides of the line. But you can still tell a Texas cowman from his brother in Arizona. The Texas hat, saddle, cinch, bit-even the Texas talk and mental attitude-are quite dif ferent from the Arizona article. At Yuma, where the Southern Pacific now bridges the Colorado, thousands of immigrants were ferried over in (lays gone by, and Yuma Indians once slew the ferryman and many other whites. South of Yuma, for a short distance, the Colorado River forms the boundary between the United States and Mexico, the line here running almost north and south. Below the railroad bridge it quits the river, and strikes due west across the Imperial Valley Canal (running into Mexico here), and thence into the sand hills and on to the Imperial Valley. No other part of the United States is so hot as this. Often the thermometer stands at more than a hundred at mid night; day shade temperatures of 125 Fahrenheit are common. Sahara-like sand-storms blow, so that even stretches of the plank auto road west of Yuma are soon lost in the dunes, and have to be excavated when the storm has passed. CATTLE' SUFFOCATED BY SAND A tale is told of one poor Arizona cow man who was driving his small herd to the California market. He had just com pleted the journey across the desert when night overtook his outfit. With it came a sand-storm. The cattle, lying down thirsty and jaded, were actually covered with the drifting sand, being too tired to stir and keep above it. When dawn came the desert about was covered with mounds and dusty shapes, with here and there a pair of horns pro truding. The cattle had suffocated. Curiously enough, too, steamboats once ran from San Francisco to Arizona! During a period following our Civil War, steamers plied the California coast, came around the peninsula of Lower California into the Gulf, and thence up the Colorado River to Yuma. For many years the main bulk of supplies for the Arizona miners came in this way. Above Yuma the government's great Laguna Dam project is built, and all about the city fertile farms are developed.