Hopi Copper Mine


The storm intensified as they drove back to Grandview point.

“Someone’s waving Rory, pull over.” They were just past the turnoff to Grandview Point. “Backup.”

Rory rolled his window down to better see the man who had stopped them. He appeared to be a hiker in distress. He was wearing khaki shorts, hiking boots, sunglasses, and a dirty white straw cowboy hat. Rory rolled his window down.

“What’s wrong?” he yelled.

“A terrible accident! My wife is down there; she fell off the ridge. I need help!”

“She fell over the edge? Where?”

Rory saw the distraught, weeping man nod and point to the parking lot behind him.

“Get in.”

“I was setting up my tripod to take a picture…”

“In the rain? Weren’t you worried about the storm?”

“It was the final picture of a grand day. I turned my back to Donna and when I turned around she disappeared over the edge.”

“Get in; it's safer to be in a car right now.” Rory glanced at the man in his rear view mirror as he climbed into the back seat, water dripping from him. He looked like a wet puppy.

“You say your wife disappeared over the edge. Is she okay?”

“No.” His voice was flat and expressionless. He had his sunglasses on, and he kept moving his head back and forth.

“Where is she, your wife?”

“On the trail at the bottom. After she fell I scrambled down, but she was dead.” He hesitated, choking up. “I washed the blood from her face. Then I came up for help.”

“How far down is she?

“At the mining camp on Horseshoe Mesa. We were photographing the mine.”

Rory pulled into the lot at the trailhead. There was a lone car parked there. “Oh someone else is here. We can ask them to help.”

“That’s my car.”

“Why didn’t you drive it to the road? It’s safer to be in a car in this lightning.”

“I’m not thinking. I didn’t know what to do.”

Rory looked to Katie for help or a clue. “Have you been here hiking off Grandview, Katie?” he asked her.

“A long time ago with Ellen. There is an old mine halfway down. The trail is well marked and well worked because it was built to bring copper ore up here to the trailhead. There used to be an ore crusher right here.”

“What do you want to do?” He looked at Randy. “Maybe you should take us down there.”

“Why? She’s dead I'm sure of it. I don’t want to go down again not with the lightning and the wind.”

“What about your stuff?”

“Later.” Leaving the car, he dug for keys in his pocket and dropped them before his fingers could coordinate. He picked them back up and hurried to his vehicle.

“He’s gone crazy Rory.” They watched the man start the car and drive off. “At least he turned right towards the village.” Katie grabbed her hat and stepped out of the car.

“What are you doing Katie?”