Approaching Álamos in 1996

27 … The year is 1996, signs proclaim, to travelers and citizens, Álamos approaches…

Road in Navajoa to Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Coming from Tijuana or Nogales it feels good to take leave of the highway.

Turning east, off north – south Federal Highway 15 in Navajoa, begins an interesting 34 mile ride on Sonora State Highway 162 as one slowly climbs foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. Volcanic outcroppings to the north create horizons from another world, alien, mysterious, engrossing. Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, waiting, is ahead.

Population sign Alamos, Sonora, Mexico, 1996.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Beyond this simple sign is civilization on the frontier of wilderness.

One has passed imposing Cacharamba, Minas Nuevas, the gateway to Aduana, and is gradually descending into the Álamos valley. Sierra de Álamos fills the southern horizon. The Chihuahua Sierras, home to Copper Canyon, are the eastern horizon. And then, one is entering Álamos. I am sure this sign, which was the City population at that time, has changed. Mining to the north has brought workers to live in Álamos. And it seems everywhere one goes there are more people, as long as there is food, water and shelter. The most recent Álamos population figure, which includes all of the Álamos municipality, nearly 4,200 square miles, is 24,493

Old sign on the sotheastern entrance to Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

And some taken the road less traveled from another age, another land.

Hard to read? Let us come closer for a better view.

sign outside of alamos on the road from el fuerte, alamos sonora mexico. photo by anders tomlinson

A timeless beautiful sky is a perfect backdrop.

Still hard to read? Let us come even closer for a better view.

sign outside of alamos on the road from el fuerte, alamos sonora mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Time has hidden the who, what and where.

If you take a moment and study this sign you will see the letters A-l-a-m-o-s emerge from the age, rust and dust of what was once the main entrance into town. This is El Camino Real, extended in 1700 from Culican northward through El Fuerte, Sinoloa and into Álamos, Sonora. Mexico. In 1690, long pack trains, loaded with silver, passed this spot on their way south to Mexico City. This was one of the most important roads in Mexico. Times change. When I first arrived in Álamos there was talk of a Federal Highway being built here, following El Camino Real south. Thankfully, it was only talk. Highways have a way of changing land, cultures and ways of life.

Álamos is home to the jumping bean along with elements that touch all the senses.

This video features the jumping bean, a drive into town from the west, and several cameos: church bell ringing, closeup of flood waters, timelapse of clouds passing in front of Mt. Álamos, and a street puddle at night reflecting shimmering light.

A parade of lights brings song and joy to colonial Álamos streets during Christmas.

We see a traditional Posada visiting from house to house and arriving at Casa de los Tesoros where children in their holiday attire play and adult family take in another Christmas in Álamos. It is a tradition. Another scene is a trip to the Alameda.

Not that long ago the best way to travel to Álamos was by mule train.

Álamos has a 5,000 foot runway, at 1,300 feet elevation, awaiting your landings and takeoffs. Álamos City Airport, to the west, is minutes away from downtown. Talk about arriving first class.

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