Thursday, January 08, 2015

Life and Death in the desert.

Well, well, well!  Welcome to 2015!
It seems that my blog has not updated itself for quite a while now.  Here’s an assortment of excuses:
My calendar crashed, and I had no idea that days were passing?  When I got the calendar working, I found out that it was a new year!
I have been working long hours with the GoPro movie editor, and STILL have not gotten Hailey’s video ready to go.  I’m sure it has something to do with my computer, but the program just will not work reliably and locks up every time.
My computer has taken to using the BSOD (blue screen of death) to get out of anything it does not want to do.  It crashes several times on every day ending in ‘y’.  Like Tuesday for example.Shifty
Or, non-stop excitement has taken my focus away from the blog?  You choose your favourite excuse.
We have had our share of excitement however.  I had moved down to a great little BLM area off Courthouse Road, west of Buckeye, AZ, after sending Wandering Willy down to check it out as an advance scouting party.  He recommended it, but left before I got there.  PC210356PC210349
So anyway, I was on the way back from a supply expedition into nearby Buckeye one day, when my nearest neighbour from about a mile away flagged me down as I drove past.  He told me that earlier in the day the place had been swarming with police and sheriffs, and even a helicopter.  They were supposedly looking for a couple with a gun!  Alrighty then!  Got back to my camp and checked my security/trail cam for any evidence, and sure enough camp had been invaded …  but the only armed people to visit were the sheriffs!
That was about all the excitement for the time being, so I occupied myself with scaling a few of the nearby mountain peaks.
Time lapse
First, I hiked up a small peak overlooking my camp.IMG_6584IMG_6582
And did a photosphere from the summit. (360 degree interactive view, including up and down and you can zoom in and out!)  Click here, or up there.
On the hike back down, I discovered a couple of exposed bee hives up on a cliff face on the north side of the mountain.  These were likely the bees that convinced me to remove my hummingbird feeder while here.
Took a couple of time exposures of things on Christmas night.
And then I scrambled up a larger peak to the south of my camp.
A few days after Christmas, I decided to scramble up Saddle Mountain, the tallest in the area.IMG_1715
The route up is on the far side, but I hiked over and did it, while showing a local family where the trail was.  They didn’t make it up, but I spent about an hour on top.  This is a video view on the way up …

And of course, I did another photosphere in the summit, that you can check out on Google Maps – right here!  (Photosphere is a free App from Google for the iPhone, and they can be uploaded onto Google Maps as I have done with a number of them)
And, here’s another video I shot – just below the summit on Saddle Mountain.

On a sunny Monday morning after a frosty night, I was up enjoying my morning coffee (and planning to update my blog Winking smile, ya right) when I noticed two unmarked pickups circling the area.  When they pulled up to my camp and turned on their emergency lights I went out with my coffee for a chat.  They advised me that the previous situation with the armed couple had not been completely resolved, and that a young female Hispanic had not been located yet.  I told them I had not seen anything, but offered my helicopter and camera if it would help.  Not a few minutes later, I heard and saw the sheriff departments helicopter circling in the area not far off.
Then I tuned in my scanner radio and listened to the helicopter advise that he had located the subject in a wash about a half mile away.  He then directed the ground units in to that location.  And it did not seem like a favourable outcome to the search Sad smile.  So I found myself a hill and spent the day watching things develop, including at least 15 police vehicles on scene at one time.

The last vehicle to arrive sadly was the medical examiner’s white van.  I let Fox news use a couple of my photos in their coverage.
As soon as the young lady's body was discovered, her boyfriend was arrested and charged with her murder.  A very sad and tragic outcome, specially at Christmas time.
Some media links to the story below.
I had likely walked within 1-200 yds of that location on my way to climb saddle mountain.
In other news … my blog posting was delayed yet again today (!) when Jean & Skip came over during my assigned blogging time and chatted for a while with Wandering Willy and I – somewhere close the the Mexican line.  I have no shortage of excuses.  I guess the Bayfield Bunch managed to sneak by me again as they returned to their winter home from Borrego Springs, but I believe there are still quite a few of the ‘regulars’ over there including the 12 paws and 40 feet of Wheeling It!


  1. What is that on Hailey's collar?? Aren't you afraid she'll wonder off? Ah Wandering Willy. I used to follow his blog, and have tried to find him on FB but never have. I used to comment on his blog, please tell him that Ruth says hi and hope all is well.

  2. To the southwest of Courthouse Rock there is a canyon and Indian Springs. Along that trail I probably saw more petroglyphs than I have ever seen before. It looked like all the ancient graffiti artists had a convention there. Provided my Courthouse Rock and yours are the same. Here are some coordinates N33° 26.715' W113° 23.765'

  3. Awwww geeeze Ivan some boondockers have all the excitement. Good for you in getting those photos onto Fox news. Too bad about the young girl though but at least the killer has been arrested. Sounds like you have enough fellow dockers there now to have yourselves one of them there happy hour thingys:))

    1. Yep, we've got almost enough folks around here now for a decent happy hour. Just wondering if Nina & Paul might head over this way if they ever escape from the lure of Borrego!

  4. Just glad to read that you and Halley are safe and sound.

    It's about time.

  5. WOW, so close to your camp. Sounds like a bunch of excitement for sure. Cool to have your stuff on FOX!!!

  6. How horrible ...I know when we were at Hickiwan our neighbor had 2 Hispanics at their door at 2AM wanting a ride to Phoenix..They shut the door and reported it to the Border Patrol..and that was in a regular RV park! ..and in 2010! Be safe out there!

  7. we will be heading to the Q in a week or so and then to Mesa - may have to check out your booddocking site along the way...

  8. I’ve always hated bees, as they’ve bite me many times, on the face. You’re lucky enough to get a click of many beehives and still didn’t disturb anyone of ‘em. Living alone at these places and hiking is the utmost desire of many fellas, just few could fulfill it. Sad to hear bout that girl.