Saturday, October 19, 2013

Lonesome Valley. Arizona.

Lonesome Valley Road
Lonesome Valley. The first time I saw its name on the map, I was hooked. How evocative. 

Curiously, nobody I knew around there called it that. There was Prescott (Arizona's first capital, before it was even a state), Prescott Valley, and Chino Valley. Two valleys as city names, but neither of them Lonesome. 

This area, which likes to call itself the Central Arizona Highlands, isn't lonely these days, which is why they named the town east of Prescott to be Prescott Valley instead of Lonesome Valley. You see, back in the 1960s, some astute land developers recognized that it probably wouldn't be the shrewdest of business moves to try to sell plots of land in an out of the way place 90 miles north of Phoenix by calling it "Lonesome Valley". 

So they didn't. 

Thus they called their new little city Prescott Valley. Which sounds quaint, but will forever confuse non-locals as to whether the town they are driving through on the way to Prescott was actually Prescott, or Prescott-In-The-Prescott-Valley. After all, ringed by mountains, this must be a valley, right? And Prescott is the heart of it. Sufficiently confused, hopefully they will just pull over at a good restaurant and eat while asking the waitress. 

I guess that East Of Prescott wouldn't have been good, either. But it would have been accurate. 

Which somehow brings us back to Lonesome Valley. The real valley the town kind of borders. The valley north of it, the one too beautiful to take its name. Because cities, even small mountain town cities, are only beautiful in a way. Until they get crowded and polluted. 

That's when you need somewhere much more wide open and amazing. Like Lonesome Valley. Where the sky meets the land, instead of the other way around.