Last weekend, I found myself sitting on a log watching the Gila River rush by not far from where it meets the San Francisco River. It's beautiful.
I was only on the road two hours, but the fact that I was in this middle of this lush riparian area is not lost on this Tucson girl and the dry desert landscape I left behind.
Clifton was my final destination; to introduce my love to a group of people I did a story on about four years ago. Back then I focused on a dentist who fell in love with the area and its history, and bought the old union hall. Inside the hall is a mural by Tucson artist David Tineo depicting the 1983 Morenci mine-workers strike. Jeff Gaskin amazed me then, and he amazes now. He bought this building and embraced its history, while creating a bed and breakfast for a town in the midst of attracting others with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. It was great to see Jeff again, the town of Clifton and that beautiful mural.
There are people there, newcomers and those raised in the area connected to the mining industry, who love their home. We had lots of discussions on Clifton's future, often comparing it to Bisbee, especially a Bisbee in the early '80s. The question came up: Can you have mining and tourism at the same time? One had to end for another to begin in Bisbee. In Clifton, the mining is further up in Morenci, but some of the tailings can be seen from Clifton. Still, it's a lovely place. I'm grateful to Jeff for his hospitality and his continued care of Tineo's mural and the labor hall. Go visit, please.
— Mari Herreras, firstname.lastname@example.org