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Mojave River Narrows
Victorville, California
11/24/05

On Thanksgiving Day 2005, while visiting the Mojave River Narrows in Victorville, California, I encountered the camp of four homeless people. Being homeless myself, I stopped and visited with them.


I parked near the busy railroad tracks to explore the Mohave River Narrows.


The Mojave River normally flows underground and rarely flows above ground except during heavy rains. In this location, however, the river is forced to the surface by underground rocks and it flows all year.


I walked in the river itself for about a half mile. As I did, I passed a gentleman camped on the riverbank and had a brief conversation with him.


On the way back I stopped at his camp again. It turns out four people lived there: two couples. They were pleasant and friendly.

Their neighborhood is very green and scenic, especially for the Mojave Desert.


However, the trains run by at high speed just a few feet from their camp.


At the time, my own economic circumstances were dire, but I was certainly better off than these people. It was Thanksgiving Day, and I was feeling in a Dickensian mood, so I went to a local dollar store and bought them about $50 worth of groceries. I brought them back to their camp, and we had a Thanksgiving Dinner of sorts. The groceries I bought are there on the ground.


These are the two couples. (Unfortunately, I can't remember all their names.) Note the stairs cut into the railroad embankment on the right.


This is Michelle (the only name I remember). I talked with them for quite a while and got to know their stories. (I only took out my camera at the end of my visit.) They got here through a combination of economic hardship, family rejection and mental health issues. They had formed a new family of sorts here on the river bank.

Apart from an obvious pot interest, drug abuse did not seem to be an issue for them. They said, however, that there were other homeless residents of the area who were heavily into drugs, including some parents with children, who I caught a glimpse of.

The man I first talked to (in the baseball cap in earlier photo) asked me about work in Las Vegas. He wanted work but had recently got out of prison and no one would hire him. His girlfriend was a licensed hairdresser. (She showed me her certificate.) They had lived together in a house until she lost her job. I could tell that there were some mental health issues with her.


The camp.


The homeless life isn't all hardship. Following my visit, the two men walked with me toward a city park, where they played golf.

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