Review of Guaracha Trail by Dr. George Parker
As a young physician in the early days of the evolution of the boom towns of America’s South West Dr. George Parker bore witness to the stories of the adventurers, miners, travellers and businessmen who passed through his medical office. The sense of excitement which came with the rapid development of these towns and dwellings was not lost on Parker and when he himself was struck with a bout of ill health he looked to these men for inspiration in a change of career.
His illness was such that he could no longer practice medicine and so, with little to lose, he set about finding a lost silver mine in the province of Durango in the heart of Northern Mexico’s Bandit Country. Accompanied by the man who told him of this hidden fortune Parker endured several failed attempts which were beset with hardships and bad luck. Eventually the mine was found but to his bitter dismay the location had already been discovered forcing Parker to push further into uncharted Bandit Country. What lay ahead is difficult to imagine today and to understand Parker’s sense of determination is difficult to fathom without reading his book. That he even considered pushing further into unchartered territory says much about the man and his spirit.
The risks were great, the terrain was treacherous as they scaled ridges with drops on both sides of thousands of feet. But despite the gruelling journey the reward was great; an undiscovered mine rich in deposits. But if the journey was thwart with danger the troubles had only just begun. As word spread of Parker’s discovery he would face unwanted interest from other miners, Mexican bandits and revolutionaries as well battle horrendous obstacles from the terrain and weather.
This is a fascinating book, a remarkable account of life in the early part of the twentieth century and a must for anyone with an interest in the evolution of mining and the history of Northern Mexico. First published in 1951 it is a difficult title to obtain particularly in a dust wrapper but I have a very nice copy for sale at Retroculturati Books. For more information please click here.