A Treasure From The Archives
Included in my recently discovered treasure trove of lost images was this trip to Cuervo, New Mexico in September of 2005. The photos were unedited so, to match the look of my more recent ghost town work, I transferred the images to my phone and edited them with Snapseed. I'm pretty sure I shot these with a first generation Canon Digital Rebel and the 18-55mm kit lens that came with it.
One Day They All Left
While visiting Cuervo, you expect to see the word "Croatoan" carved in a tree. It's like the inhabitants of the town all went on an ill fated field trip. Many of the houses are still furnished and even the hair salon looks ready for business... sorta. Do keep in mind that this was in 2005, there's no telling what is or isn't there now.
A Bit Of History
Cuervo was founded in 1901 when the railroad came through. In 1910 the surrounding land was opened to cattle ranching and this gave more people a reason to live there. In the 1940's, when Route 66 came to town, the population peaked at over 300. Despite a rapidly dwindling population, Cuervo managed to keep it's own post office until September 10, 2011 but it does still have it's own zip code of 88417.
Today, Cuervo is considered an unincorporated community. It is located roughly 17 miles east of Santa Rosa off I-40. If you go there, don't go alone. There are still a few observant locals living in the hills above and they are most certainly aware of any visitors to the ghost town. In fact, the last time I was there (circa 2011) my group was confronted by a local with a rifle. After chatting with him for awhile, he turned out to be friendly but nonetheless you wouldn't want to be there alone. Additionally, there are plenty of things like uncovered wells that are overgrown with weeds and many ways to get hurt. Don't go ghost town exploring alone, it's just not a good idea. And, as always, take only photos and leave only footprints.
Before The Flood
Way back in 2012, I took a trip to Boulder, CO with my friend Amy. We went to attend a Bryan Kest yoga workshop. One of the other fun things we did on our trip was visit the semi-ghost town of Gold Hill that is located at the top of mountain behind the city of Boulder.
Gold Hill is a census designated place which means that a few people live there so they have to call it something. According to the 2010 census, the population was 230. The town has (had?) an active town meeting with elected officials but no municipal government.
Originally a mining camp, Gold Hill holds a historical significance in Colorado history as the site of the first major discovery of gold during the 1859 Colorado Gold Rush. During it's heyday in the late 1800's the population soared to around 1500 but has been in a long decline since then.
Gold Hill also boasts the oldest public school house in Colorado which has been in continuous operation since 1873. There are lots of historical wooden structures, some abandoned, some renovated and modernized. It's a fun little town to walk around and look at stuff, maybe stop in to the local coffee shop for a mocha.
Be advised that, if it's still there, the access road to reach Gold Hill which sits at an elevation of 8300 feet is not paved and is sketchy on a good day. DO NOT ATTEMPT in inclement weather. From 4th and Mapleton in Boulder, take Sunshine Canyon Road all the way to the top.
Before attempting to reach Gold Hill, I highly recommend doing some research to see if it's still there. After the massive flooding of the area in 2013, I had heard from a resident of Morrison that Gold Hill was leveled and washed away. So far I've had a hard time verifying this information but I wouldn't drive all the way back out there unless I knew for sure.
The Creepiest Thing Ever
I wish I had taken a wider shot to show the context but this really bizarre tile was embedded in the wall of a stairwell that would've led to the basement of the structure. The basement is all that was left though so it was more like a stairway to a hole in the ground. Next to the knives on the table in Navarino, WI this wall tile is ranking high on the list of creepiest thing found in abandoned structures. And to have put it in the stairwell to the basement, where the evil resides, is just messed up.
The Old Cemetery
The photo below makes me think of the song, Mykonos, by the Fleet Foxes. There is an old cemetery outside of town and I made my friends walk for over an hour to find it because I remembered it from a previous trip but couldn't remember how to get there. It is old and creepy and everything a mountain ghost town cemetery should be in the September before the flood.
All of these photos were shot with an iPhone4 (which was cutting edge at the time) using the Hipstmatic app.
A Return Trip To Cerrillos
Back in April, my mom and I made a return trip to Cerrillos and I got some shots that I wasn't able to get the first time. For example, I really wanted to get some photos of the Antonio Simoni building (see above) but on my previous visit there were cars parked out front, ruining the old and haunted vibe that I wanted to show. But on this trip, no cars and a nice little breeze to blow that New Mexico state flag out at the exact perfect angle. Sometimes I get lucky!
To see the photos from my first post about Cerrillos, including Mary's Bar and other iconic locations, click here.
Abandoned House On The Outskirts Of Town
When I say the "outskirts of town", keep in mind that the outskirts of Cerrillos are only about three blocks from the inskirts of town, even though "inskirts" is not a proper word.
So anyway... this house is off HWY 14, The Turquoise Trail, right before the turn off that would take you into town. This house is abandoned BUT it is on the same property as another house that is not abandoned and they're all inside the same fence so don't go inside or you will likely have a wild west encounter with someone who doesn't want you there.
When I initially posted the photo below on Twitter, a woman commented that her daughter used to live in this house. She told me that her daughter lived there with her slacker boyfriend and that the house was a disaster on the inside. She said that her daughter eventually came to her senses and moved out, leaving the boyfriend to his own devices.
This kind of thing happens all the time and I think it's super cool when people recognize and can share what they know about the abandoned places I photograph. Just goes to show that it's a small, small world.
Houses Farther From The Road
Close to house above, off HWY 14, are these other two abandoned houses. They are pretty far off the road but are also on the same property as a house that is clearly inhabited with a No Trespassing sign on the gate to the driveway. The photo below is particularly far from the road (and no good way to zoom in with the MotoX4) but if you look close there is a horse running in front of the house.
And Then There's This Place
This structure is not exactly in Cerrillos or Madrid. It's on HWY 14 in between the two towns. The building has no windows and only one door so maybe it was a jail or a general store? In any case, someone went through a lot of trouble to do the nice brick work over the door.
The building is built into the side of a hill so, if you walk around to the back, you can look down into the interior (since there's no roof). Two camp fire sites show evidence of continued habitation.
The Pump House
This place is actually at the south end of Madrid. There is a gate but it's not locked and there's no signs. Additionally, there are several picnic tables on the north side. Initially, I thought it was an abandoned house but, upon closer inspection, it's a pump house. There is a huge holding tank behind the house and that trough on the right hand side is full of fresh water. Perhaps it was a home or a small store at one time but it's definitely a pump house now.
Gold Mine Road
Be careful on Gold Mine Road. There is a nice bed and breakfast at the top of the hill called Hacienda Dona Andrea de Santa Fe. Other than that, everything else is private property and the hills have eyes! Additionally, if you turn off Gold Mine Road, all those little roads are not paved and are pretty sketchy. Definitely not appropriate for your average city slicker mobile. The photo below was shot from a location pretty close to the bed and breakfast.
All photos shot with Motorola MotoX4 and edited with Snapseed.
The best way to attract hummingbirds is to provide them things that they like, i.e., food and habitat.
There are many options when it comes to hummingbird feeders but you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a good one. The ones I have right now were under $10 and are the best feeders I've ever had. The most important thing about the feeder is whether or not the base comes apart and can be thoroughly cleaned. If the base is all one piece and doesn't come apart, don't buy it.
It is not necessary to spend a lot of money on commercial hummingbird food. It is also not necessary for the food to be red. The feeder being red is enough to attract the birds, there's no need to add artificial coloring to their food.
The best and easiest hummingbird food can be made at home and is quite inexpensive. The recipe is simple: one part plain white granulated sugar to four parts boiling water. When the water reaches a boil, stir in the sugar until it's all dissolved, cut the heat and wait for the mix to cool. I make hummingbird food in 12-cup batches (so that's 12 cups water and 3 cups sugar) and I store the excess in a gallon jug in my refrigerator. Right now my feeders are so busy that I am refilling all three of them every other day and making 12-cup batches of food twice a week.
Hummingbirds are nervous little birds and they prefer for their feeders to be kinda high off the ground so they can see all around and watch for predators.
It is important to only put out enough food that the birds can finish it in a few days and it's also good to put the feeders where they will be shaded from the afternoon sun. Even if their food is not finished in a few days, it is still necessary to rinse out the feeders and refill with fresh food. Hummingbird food will go rancid after a few days of sitting outside in the sun. In addition, the birds leave bacteria from their beeks and tongues inside the feeders. This bacteria combined with the sun-warmed sugary mixture becomes real gross after a few days. If you wouldn't drink it, don't leave it out for hummingbirds to eat. In the early part of the season I only fill my feeders a third to half full so that I'm not wasting too much food by having to pour it out.
Another tip that is super important is not to mess with the recipe for the food. Use only regular hot water and plain white granulated sugar. Don't try to substitute other stuff for the sugar. For example, don't use brown sugar, honey, agave nectar, artificial sweeteners or anything else besides plain white granulated sugar. Doing so can harm the hummingbirds and our job is to help them. It would be better not to feed them at all than to feed them the wrong stuff and jeopardize their health.
Hummingbirds like trees and they also like flowering plants. Ergo, flowering trees are a good idea. Mimosa, Desert Willow, and Chitalpa Trees are all good options since they bloom all summer. I have seven Desert Willows and two Mimosa trees. Hummingbirds also like flowers that are tubular. Trumpet vines are a great, fast growing option for attracting hummingbirds.
Click here to see my other posts about Hummingbirds.
Tech Specs: All photos in this post shot with Canon EOS 80D and Tamron 70-300mm lens.
The Creepiest Abandoned House Ever
I shot these photos while visiting Wisconsin during the winter of 2004. Why am I just now posting them? Long story short, these photos were officially missing for over a decade before I rediscovered their whereabouts a couple weeks ago.
Winter in Wisconsin looks like a Stephen King book. Everything looks old and creepy and haunted, whether is actually is or not. But this place is all of those things.
According to the 2000 census, the population of Navarino was 440. Chances are it's less than that now. Navarino doesn't seem like a place people move to. It's a place people move from.
I couldn't tell you how to get to this location other than I think it was somewhere off the 156. It's probably not standing anymore anyway.
This house was not a normal abandoned house. It was also the manager's office and sat in the middle of a huge junk yard of discarded appliances and junk cars. At the time of my visit, half the structure had already collapsed and it probably wasn't safe to enter the other half, not that that stopped me from going in.
The house was still full of the family's belongings, as if they left not knowing they wouldn't be coming back.... But I don't think they just left, I think something happened to them. In addition to the sinister vibe wafting from all the religious paraphernalia, there are blood rusty knives waiting on the kitchen counter and the unmistakable feeling that their lives here didn't end well.
Walking around the property, the dirt roads are lined with junked out cars, literally hundreds of them. Car trunks in the middle of nowhere sure would make a handy place to stash a few bodies. My personal feeling has always been that the guy killed his family and then killed himself out in the woods somewhere or maybe in the van pictured below. I think everyone who lived in this house could've disappeared and no one in town would've known the difference.
At the time of my exploration, this house had been abandoned for at least 24 years - judging from the 1978 calendar still clinging to the wall.
Creepy Jerry Falwell postcard dated Christmas 1976.
I am DeAnna Vincent, fine art and portrait photographer in Los Lunas, New Mexico. These are the photos from my everyday adventures.