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Kim — University of Nebraska Press / Page 91 / / The Apache Indians / Ingstad [First Page] [91], (1) Lines: 0 to 32 ——— 0.0pt PgVar ——— Normal Page PgEnds: TEX [91], (1) 8 South into Mexico Almost as a continuation between the Rocky Mountains and the Andes , the westerly Sierra Madre Occidental cuts through the Mexican interior like a huge reef. In the northern region, where the Apaches usually dwelled, the mountain range establishes the border between the neighboring states of Chihuahua and Sonora. Lowlands with rolling hills and wide, flat plains stretch on both sides of this mountain range. I wanted to enter the Sierra Madre from Sonora, so our first destination was planned for the village of Bacerac, which lies about a hundred miles south of Douglas. There is a road, albeit a rugged one, that leads there, and a truck travels the stretch once a week. Strangers wanting to go to Bacerac are rare because the place is nothing more than a poor, small outpost in the middle of the wilderness. On November 4, 1937, we loaded our twenty-three pieces of baggage onto the vehicle to Bacerac and headed south into Mexico. As we drove along we were for quite some time surrounded by nothing but flat, barren land overgrown with drab green creosote bushes, salt grass, and scattered yucca plants and mesquite trees. Then rolling green hills appeared and stands of oak stood out against the bluishblack juniper. Little by little, the most northern peaks of the Sierra Madre appeared on the horizon. Yahnozah suddenly got excited at one place and pointed out some hills to the northwest, explaining that that was where he and Geronimo surrendered to General Miles, only later to be taken to prison. We passed a small settlement by the name of Colonia Morellas that had been established by American Mormons who sought refuge down here after the banning of polygamy in the States. These ambitious people exerted great efforts to clear the land, only to be driven Kim — University of Nebraska Press / Page 92 / / The Apache Indians / Ingstad 92 South into Mexico [92], (2) Lines: 32 to 46 ——— 0.0pt PgVar ——— Normal Page PgEnds: TEX [92], (2) out when the revolution came. Mexicans had now taken over the place. The road gradually grew worse, that is, if you could call the ruts we were traveling on a road. It must have been first created when a cow came plodding along nipping at the grass here and there, later followed by other cattle using the same trail, as cattle do. Then perhaps a Mexican came riding along on his horse and chose the cow trail, as it was easiest. Other Mexicans followed and in time it became some sort of a thoroughfare that meandered here and there, sometimes even backtracking, depending on the grazing route of that first cow. Our driver, a middle-aged Mexican donning a tilted hat and with a cigarette always hanging out of his mouth, was a funny, philosophical chap. Once when we were bouncing along sideways down a steep incline, I mentioned how this could really take its toll on his brand new car. “It’ll hang together,” he replied. Then I asked him how long he thought it would last in such terrain. “Oh, in about a year it’ll roll and die.” When I heard that he only received forty-five pesos for a return trip, I made a simple calculation and realized that his chauffeur service created a direct loss for him. “That could be,” he said, not too concerned, “but it’s a living.” We arrive at a beautiful small and lush valley called Valle de las Caverneas (Valley of the Caves). On both sides we could see dark caves in the rock walls and cliffs where centuries ago people lived, and some still do. I got out to take a look at one of the caves nearest us, and inside it was as big as an apartment. A campfire was burning in the middle and a very young Mexican girl sat beside it, frying corn tortillas while a small child tottered around her. It was all such an idyllic Mexican scene. I was completely astounded when suddenly from deep within this cave I heard in clear English, “Hello! Step inside and have a look around.” A young American stepped into the light and, smiling, he reached out his hand and gave me a handshake. How he ever landed down here in a cave in...


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