23 Janvier…Mexicali…Into Mexicali on Independencio. Located federal government building at Civico Centre no problem. In its interior, an INEGI office. Directed to location on Reforma, a block or two south of the US-Mexico border. The man giving directions offers to send one of the secretaries with us as a guide. J… considers, then declines. At the INEGI office on Reforma we purchase three geology maps for 33 pesos each.
Leaving Mexicali Sierras Las Pintas to our west. Magnificent, J… says, their vivid colors of alteration revealed in the morning light. Later, I climb Lagrimas des Apaches looking for obsidian [Blog: 1 March 2017]. Breathe the new scent…clean, salty desert, pure, without oils.
24 Janvier…The sulphur mines: El Apache, Monctezuma…An anorak day, I say, digging the red thrift store Ralph Lauren pullover from a bag. Fill the camera bag with knife, lens, acid; J… gathers sample bags, pencils, black markers, GPS and off we go to explore the sulfur mine sinter deposits.
Everywhere around the main pit are gopher holes, shafts and primitive diggings. On the high spots, the wind blasts us, but it’s sunny, we’re alone disturbing no one. Looking at the ‘hot springs’ rocks I respond to their fragility, their ‘prettiness’: white crystalline frilly and light. Not enough silica for my taste, J…observes. Vivid reds - realgar reds, I call them - mark spots where epithermal activity came close to the surface. In a lee, J… records GPS position, makes notes in the EverRite notebook. Gives me a chunk of alunite to examine…Everywhere the scent of sulfur…
That night we sup on beans and rice from the 10-pound bags I purchased before crossing the border. Listen to CBC Radio International on the shortwave receiver. J… reminisces about the challenges of prospecting at 17,000 feet in Argentina: boiling water and keeping the tents attached to the surface. Here, we are at sea level. Despite the wind, it is warm compared to I-5 rest stops and the La Rumarosa summit: a beautiful silent place to spend the night.
NEXT WEEK: The Art of Prospecting: A Long Walk Over Uneven Ground…Strength and Beauty