The terrain changes in California as quickly as the gas
prices and speed limits. We have gone from ocean to mountains to desert
in mere miles. The geography is odd. The land is flat, but then quickly
juts up--like large crocodile scales. Picture an ant in a sand box that
has rocks thrown in it and that is what the Mojave feels like. I am
nothing, but a small ant in God’s enormous sandbox.
As we crossed Death Valley (a name that is fitting), we
came to the Calico ghost town. In 1880, Calico was a silver mining town.
The town prospered for 16 years. With the drop of silver value from
$1.29 to 53 cents per ounce, Calico soon became deserted in the desert.
Records show that $85,000,000 worth of silver came from the mines.
Calico was once the home of 3,500 people, but today it is as empty as
We made our way up the dusty path to Calico. Shockingly,
we were greeted by the sound of gunfire. Believe it or not, a Civil War
reenactment was going on right in downtown Calico. The rebels took the
victory and, later, Lincoln got up to give the Gettysburg Address. It
was strange seeing the Johnny Rebs and the Yankees marching in the
Mojave Desert, but good to know our nation’s history is remembered and
celebrated beyond where the battles raged.
Calico was a town worth our visit. We rambled through it
like an old miner searching for riches. The treasure we found was not
silver or gold, but the “Vision” of “what used to be” in the town called
When the vagabonds long to rove afar
And ride the lonely way,
Out where the desert mountains are
And the trail winds away.
They skirt Dry Lake with its swirling dust
And cross the mountain trails,
With sage and greasewood on the desert crust,
And winds that sigh and wail;
Where the mountain sides are weathered and stained
Like the hues of a great rainbow,
When the goals they yearn for is almost gained
That’s right--It’s Calico . . .
Mlynek is the new Chronicle reporter. She and her husband Andrew are new
residents of Calhoun County. She has taught middle school math and
science for most of her career. He is retired from the U.S. Army and has
a degree in historical restoration and preservation.
After visiting the Calhoun area on several
occasions, they fell in love with its charm and people. Moving was not a
challenge for this military family. Their last home was on the shores of
Oahu, Hawaii. After traveling a great distance, they have found a home
in West Virginia. They were both born and raised in Ohio, but the
Mountain State is where they have chosen to reside.)