Meeting with small horse, Hillsboro

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The joy of a meandering road trip of indeterminate length and purpose is having the freedom to take a risk on a detour, and stop in places you hadn’t been aware existed. Hence, 45 miles or so south and west of Cuchillo, we stopped in Hillsboro. A silver and gold mining town that boomed in the late 19th century despite regular Apache raids, it’s now a quiet and picturesque backwater with a treelined street and a population of about 100. The hub is the General Store and Cafe, where old timers hang out, most dishes come (eventually) smothered in the legendary green chile sauce, and the walls and cabinets are filled with local antiques and memorabilia. Also well worth a visit is the Percha Creek Traders, an arty store representing dozens of local artists and craftsmen. I bought a dark, locally forged, iron knife – a cuchillo, Dave looked at pictures of butterflies.

It will be interesting to see what happens to this, and other – up until now – generally overlooked small Sierra County towns once Spaceport America is open for business. Three preview tours a week are currently being offered to the site from Truth or Consequences for $59 a pop. I can’t see tourists willing to pay their pension for a Virgin flight to nowheresville being that interested in a side trip to a town where a man taking his small horse out to meet people is about as exciting as it gets, but you never know. For now Hillsboro – like Cuchillo – has its charm ring-fenced by isolation.

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