Finders, Keepers

Because of deep, soft sands, an early start is sensible when you’re making a day-trip into Arizona’s South Coyote Buttes area, and the sun hadn’t cleared the higher hills when I turned off of House Rock Valley Road onto a narrower BLM road. We’d driven twenty miles to the junction—another fifteen and we’d be at White Pocket.

It’s slow-going over raw, geologic country from that point on, and then half-way out the rough track meets another and you’ve arrived at Poverty Flats. The name fits—before nature and neglect worked it over there were a couple of attempts at buildings, but a creaking pump drawing water for the cattle who graze here is the only suggestion of human presence.

A dilapidated little shed sits off by itself, the walls are collapsing in another structure, and scattered around are sheets of corrugated metal, wire, weathered wood, a box springs, a rusting refrigerator—in fact, the only thing missing was a sign declaring PHOTOGRAPHERS WANTED.

But they didn’t have to advertise—how could anyone pass up this treasure?


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