Day Two of my “Goodbye God, I’m going to Texas” roadtrip. I left the comforts of my free room at the Tropicana in Laughlin, Nev and headed east for the Black Mountains. I was going to Oatman to see the burros. Once I left I-95 and started heading up into the mountains, the scenery became spectacular. Sheer, steep cliffs along the narrow winding road, jagged peaks, it was pretty amazing. And in about an hour, I was in Oatman.
I arrived a bit early and most of the businesses were still closed, but I walked up and down the town’s main street, interacting with the burros and taking pictures of the old buildings. It’s a pretty cool town that dates back over 100 years. A couple of prospectors struck it rich, supposedly finding a claim that yielded $10 million in gold (I always take such rich numbers with a grain of salt. I carry the salt in a small, pinch-sized container). After the find, the town boomed and folks of all kinds flooded into the area. Fires often swept through the town, the mines boomed and busted, and with the creation of Route 66, the town boomed and busted again.
The town was named in honor of Olive Oatman, who as a young girl was kidnapped along with her sister by a Native American Tribe in Arizona Territory in 1851. She and her sister were later sold to the Mohave people, after which her sister died and Olive somehow eventually returned/was rescued in the general area of today’s Oatman. Olive received the tattoos on her face sometime during her captivity with the Mohave people.
The burros that own the streets are very friendly and are said to be descended from the original burros the miners once used back during the days of gold. When they were no longer needed, they were set free to become free range burros and have roamed the area ever since. They wander into town in the morning looking for food and are very adept at plucking things from people’s hands, so hold onto your candy tightly. In the evening, they head back to wherever they intend to spend the night. After taking more than enough burrophotos, it was time to resume my journey. Goldroad was next as I headed towards Sitgreaves Pass. Adios, burritos!
Click HERE for more Oatman information.