Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A Bit of Solo Urban Exploration

Arlington Cattle Company - Arlington, AZ
So I decided to do a quick Urban Exploration loop the other night - the moon was full, and I needed to drive for a bit...I drove to places I had been before, and in fact, have blogged about - so there won't be much in the way of history here - just pictures that showcase the heartbeat of Arizona - farmland at its finest.

Along the Gila River southwest of Phoenix lies a valley with some of the best farm land in Arizona - Arlington, Palo Verde and Liberty.  Small pioneer communities with big dreams - beautifully decaying right before our eyes. These communities flourished in the early 1900's when building canals and harnessing the power of the Gila River was a thing.  The Old Highway 80 is a wonderful drive back in history - it is frequented by motorcyclists for the long, slow rolling roads, and by photographers for the amazing buildings and ruins along the way...

The Arlington Cattle Company works is one of my favorite places to photograph.  The pictures NEVER turn out bad.  It's a beautiful plant, stuck in time, and easy to see and photograph without trespassing.  

Gillespie Dam from the Historic Gillespie Bridge
On down the road is the collapsed Gillespie Dam.  For history on this Dam, see one of my earlier blog posts where I talk in detail about the structure of the dam and the history of the dam and its collapse.  

I've been to the broken Gillespie Dam probably 15 times.  It's a place I go when I need to "get away."  I go there to see the power of the Gila River - to see that man can be powerless over nature.  To see the beautiful tragedy that is the broken dam.  

This time was no different - I wanted to sit and just be.  But this time, the Dam had been closed off.  You can no longer walk down to the old concrete apron.  You can no longer get close enough to see the mud swallow nests.  I've often wondered in the past why it was open when there were still dam operations going on on the East side of the dam.  I've wondered what would happen if a flash flood came through and all those people who camp and fish down there had no idea.  I guess someone else wondered too.  

So I took the best pictures I could, and decided to head down to Gila Bend.  The sun was starting to go down, and I'm glad I went - I got wonderful pictures of this old barn - I fell in love with this barn and was there taking photos for close to 30 minutes.  

There is something beautiful about this dilapidated old mess of twisted metal and wood.  I drove past it, slammed on the brakes, turned around, and parked and got out.  I don't know what it was that called to me - maybe it was the way the sun went down around it - maybe it reminded me of something - I don't know.  But I loved this barn.  It might have been my favorite part of this evening drive I took.  

I continued on to Gila Bend after the sun set, stopped at the Chevron and got some licorice and went back - I wanted a night photo at the Arlington Cattle Company with the full moon...again - I'm so glad I did.  This trip was worth every photo...

Arlington Cattle Company - Arlington, AZ

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