Mogollon News — Introduction: The Road to Mogollon

The road to Mogollon
The road to Mogollon

The road to Mogollon is justly notorious. It is not a bad road…not especially rough. And it has been worked on recently. It is not even all that steep. (At least some of it isn’t.) However, with the exception of one flat stretch over the top of Whitewater Mesa a third of the way up, all of it is a grade. And all of it is narrow and twisty, with solid rock straight up on one side for hundreds of feet and straight down an equal or greater distance on the other side. The Mogollon Road rises about twenty-five hundred feet and then drops back about twelve hundred - all in the space of nine miles. It makes for wonderful views.

The solid rock is why the road does not fall off the side of the mountain, though piles of it do occasionally fall onto the road. There are numerous signs to warn the uninitiated of the hazards of the Mogollon Road.

The road is only one of the many reasons why nobody lives in Mogollon by accident. There are lots of reasons not to live in Mogollon. It does not get much sun in winter. It is far from most places to make a living. It is far from stores and hospitals. Cabin fever traditionally sets in sometime around the second week of September, to lift only when the tourists show up again - well into the following summer.

A couple of years ago, when there were about twenty people working at the mine, someone commented that the gold and silver mine here in Mogollon was the biggest private employer in Catron County. That says something about a county larger than the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island put together, where the largest private employer is located in a ghost town. There are buildings in Connecticut with more people in them than there are in Catron County.

People out here tend to be ornery and individualistic. However, a hundred years ago, the priorities of remoteness and gold led to far more serious dissension than they do now. Back then, the Apaches were looking for someplace to keep out of the way. What is now the Gila Wilderness was one of the last places available. The gold and silver at Mogollon were bringing in lots of people. Modern disagreements are mild by comparison.

Living someplace like Mogollon is a popular fantasy. Not many people actually try it, and most of those who do rapidly discover that they really do not want to live a place so demanding and remote. Many of the few who stay, however, turn out to be unique and often exceptionally sensitive individuals who, with patience and effort, create a constructive niche for themselves in a setting where every individual counts. These are the special people who bless isolated communities in far greater proportion than is possible places where everyone is just a cypher. They are the real rugged individuals America was once famous for.


In the fall of 1985, a new column appeared in The Silver City Enterprise, then New Mexico’s oldest continuously-published weekly newspaper, appearing regularly since 1882. The introductory material you have just read is taken from the columns of Oct. 10 and 17, 1985. The following summer, "The Mogollon News, from the heart of Catron County," began weekly broadcast on Public Radio Station KRWG in Las Cruces. The Silver City Enterprise shut down in Nov., 1987. But the "Mogollon News" continued, in Silver City’s El Reportero: New Mexico’s only bilingual newspaper, the Catron County Firestarter (Glenwood, N. M.), and the Big Water Times (Big Water, Utah). In the 90s, it became a regular feature in the award-winning British experimental Speculative Fiction magazine, BBR, and on

The "Mogollon News" enters with the Mogollon Road and exits with the Catron County Land Use Plan, both thoroughly real. History and geography are equally real. The stories and their characters are fiction. But the atmosphere is authentic. The time covered is 1985-95, a decade when Catron County ¾ New Mexico’s largest and least populous, in which Mogollon sets, became a national leader of the growing rural ferment over local say in land use issues. Perhaps these tales may contribute a bit of insight. Of course people, including the inhabitants of the "Mogollon News", mostly live their personal lives, with their many personal joys, sorrows, struggles and quirks, at any time. None of the people in these stories (except Uncle River) really have lived in Mogollon. But they could. If you would like to experience more of the view from one of America’s most spectacular and remote ghost towns, read on.

The Silver Creek Temperance Society
The Balloon
Halley’s Comet
The Libyan Invasion
A Case of Religion

Contact if you are interesting in publishing Uncle River’s "Mogollon News."