As I previously posted, NSM-AZ spent Wednesday morning cleaning up a part of the desert in the Vekol Valley drug corridor south of Interstate 8. Apparently, I was just getting started on what would be an amazing adventure that finally concluded yesterday afternoon.
On Thursday, April 5, 2012, I assisted some friends in recovering a "load vehicle" from the BLM land west of Hidden Valley, not too far from my home. The GMC Yukon was hidden in a wash and it turned out to be stolen. The Pinal County Sheriff's Office was notified and responded to take possession of the vehicle. Youtube report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnrVMsKHDkk&list=UU9KrabMIJYWTalWWdnR4xYQ&index=2&feature=plcp
120405070 Recovered Stolen Vehicle RECOVERED VEHICLE-STOLEN OTHER
Incident Address : N HIDDEN VALLEY RD & W CENTURY RD MARICOPA
Time Reported: 11:42
Time Occurred between: 11:36:53 04/05/12 - 11:37:20 04/05/12
Cad Info: OFF DEAD END ON W CENTURY. GO TO THE POWER LINE RD AND GO ABOUT 100 YARDS DOWN. VEHICLE IS DOWN IN A WASH. HAS A WHOLE BUNCH OF CAMOFLAGE MATERIAL AROUND IT. PLATE SHOWING ON THE VEHICLE IS #, COMING BACK ON A 1996 ACURA. RP SAYS THAT VEHICLE IS A GMC YUKON. 10-29 NEG. THIS VEH IS A 10-40 CAN YOU CONFIRM. VEH WAS USED FOR 3405. 52 2. ADV 1X5 THAT THE VEH WAS CONFIRMED. LONE COYOTE TOWING ETA 20-25 ENRT FOR THE VEHICLE. 900 WAS ASKED TO SEND TELETYPE TO PHX PD TO NOTIFY RO
At 5:00AM Friday morning, I departed for a three day trip to the Barry M. Goldwater Range south of Welton, AZ for a recon of the area, including the Tinajas Altas and Gila Mountains. For three days, there was no excitement or incidents. We made contact with the Border Patrol several times Friday morning and they informed us that the area was "hot". I dropped my friend off to hike the ranges to Interstate 8 and I would not see the Border Patrol again. Being Easter weekend, I didn't see many people at all. The military was still flying jets over the range, though.
I discovered some old illegal alien sign on Saturday afternoon. All I found was a backpack and a disposable razor. They were deteriorated and had been there for quite some time.
Early Easter Sunday (5:30AM), I was out of ice and decided to break camp and make my way into Welton, which was north of my location to stock up on ice and have a Jumbo Jack with Curly Fries. I encountered some loose sand and found myself stuck and unable to continue on my excursion to town. I was in the middle of the Cipriano Pass. Due to the holiday weekend and the remoteness of my location, I knew I would be there for a while before somebody would happen along. Things like this don't worry me that much as I'm overly prepared for most situations.
Although my trip was planned for three days, I had at least a week's worth of food and water on board my vehicle. I also had all of my "battle gear" and extra ammunition, in the event I encountered hostile elements. All travelers in Arizona (or anywhere) should always have extra water and something to eat with them. People can and do become stranded. So, be prepared. Stay alive!
Despite my circumstances, I continued to explore and photograph the area. I also set my camp back up and placed a reflective space blanket on the ground to alert aircraft that something might be amiss. To further alert passers by, I placed a large Rubbermaid tote along the road with improvised arrows made from red tape.
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday went by with little or no activity, except for the fighter training above. It wasn't until Tuesday night when things changed.
On Tuesday night (April 9, 2012), a cold front moved in and I experienced strong winds. My tent took a serious beating and finally broke under the stress. Since it wasn't very cold, I simply placed my foam pad, sleeping bag and pillow on top of the remains of my tent and went back to sleep, until the fighters above started making noise and dropped bright flares. I kept a flashlight and my AR-15 handy in the event I had any nocturnal visitors. I eventually went back to sleep after the planes went away.
Sometime after midnight, Bailey began barking at something to the north of my position. I shined my light in that direction and heard a voice. A couple of hikers emerged and I informed them of my situation. They marked my GPS location and continued on their journey. They told me that they would notify somebody once they had a signal.
On Wednesday morning, I took a rope, an 8'x10' tarp, parts from my tent and constructed a temporary shelter. The tarp was one of the items contained in the pack I set up for that search and rescue class I took last fall at Mesa Community College. By this time, people on the "home front" reported me missing and called authorities. Not long after constructing the shelter, a Border Patrol helicopter was spotted flying to the north of my location.
Approximately one hour later, I heard a vehicle approaching and actually recognized it. Friends from multiple groups, including the US Border Guard and the Sonoran Desert Patrol arrived at my location and promptly extracted my vehicle from the wash. We broke camp and departed the area.
If you happen to become stranded, never leave the vicinity of your vehicle. Situations like this might be a little inconvenient, but they never should be fatal. Of course, the hiker I dropped off on Friday morning beat me home.
El Camino Del Diablo BMGR 04 2012.wmv: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN1OCN3obvk&list=UU9KrabMIJYWTalWWdnR4xYQ&index=1&feature=plcp
“I'm a 9th generation American and patriot (1737). My forefathers served in the Pennsylvania Militia. On June 27, 1781, they were called to perform a tour of duty. I'm still protecting freedom and securing the border, 275 years later.” --Harry L Hughes III