I had only walked about a mile or so looking around at what I could find earlier this morning. Actually, I was just looking around, I wasn’t trying to find anything in particular, just wanted to explore a bit. By the map I am in Anderson Canyon about 20 – 25 miles southeast of Tucson. Yeah, I was a little bored. I slept really well last night and feel pretty decent today. I wanted to just get out and explore a little, I guess I am a little bored. I love exploring and I have the time. I am not going to start walking again, heading home, until almost dark.
So I was just walking along this really wide spot in the canyon not really seeing anything of interest or value. Oh wait, I knew I had to be on BLM land…there was a nasty old mattress and a shot up TV sitting up against the canyon wall. Seems as if those two items are the default BLM land signs. Anyways, I was just poking around and I see this body lying in the middle of the canyon. He was maybe five-nine or so, medium build, Hispanic, and very dead. Before I could stop myself I ran up to him. Yeah, stupid!
His feet had been tied together and there was maybe 20’ of rope laying out behind him. His hands weren’t tied. He appeared to have been dragged by someone pulling the rope. His arms sprawled out over his head. His face was pretty chewed up, his clothes were shredded. He had nothing of use on him, actually nothing at all. I never even thought to bury him. He was stiff but not bloated, he hadn’t been dead too long. By the tracks it looked like he had been dragged there by horses.
I was looking in his back pockets when I heard gunshots, a bunch of them. It sounded like at least one semi-auto AK rifle, a shotgun, and maybe a pistol. People were not happy with each other by the sounds of it. I took off running in that direction.
I had run about fifty yards towards the gunfire when I stopped so fast I almost face-planted into the ground. I didn’t have a gun on me and I was running towards an obvious gun battle. Idiot! I got up against the east canyon wall that still had plenty of shadow and burrowed in behind a mesquite bush and just held up there. The gunfire got weaker and no more sounds from a shotgun. I headed back towards my “camp”…if you can call it that.
On the walk back I started thinking to myself about the mistakes I had been, and maybe still was, making. The first and foremost I was out walking around the desert in the daylight during dangerous times. The only weapons I have on me are a couple of knives…but I was running towards a gunfight for crying out loud! I didn’t have my Arizona Delorme Atlas on me because I left my pack back at my camp. Sure, I had a bottle of water on me but I had left everything else back at camp! What if I was unable to get back to camp? I would be out here with nothing. Idiot!
If I was going to survive and get back home I had been smarten up a whole bunch. I have to fall back on my training. I am forever grateful to Kevin at onPoint Tactical. I took his urban survival, escape, and evasion class in Phoenix back in 2012. Those three days were some incredible days of learning. But, I gotta get it in my head that that training was for these times…I gotta get my head into the game. If not, how do I expect I will survive let alone get home.
When I got back to my camp I wanted to load up and leave. It was then I realized another FAIL! I didn’t have all of my gear in my pack. I had some of it neatly laid out like I was at a Boy Scout camp. Well, this ain’t no Boy Scout camp! I have to keep all of my gear in my pack at all times so I can just grab and go…or I might end up leaving valuable gear behind if I have to run. And, I have to keep my pack with me at all times or I might lose the whole thing. I gotta get a whole lot smarter and pay more attention to what I am doing.
After finally getting my head together I gathered my stuff up and walked about a half mile away to another shaded area. I wanted to change my camp location to a more secure spot. I sat down and ate a granola bar and drank a bunch more water trying to settle myself back down. I am not an idiot in these things. I’ve taken survival classes, I’ve lived in the outback, I’ve worked in many wilderness areas, I have spent plenty of time in the desert. I know how to do this. I just have to get my head wrapped around the idea that times are way different now, one mistake and I am screwed.
To get my mind off my mistakes I got the atlas out to get myself reoriented for the trip tonight and my encounter with Benson tomorrow. I got sick to my stomach. While I was out walking around like a Sunday afternoon walk in the park I didn’t realize it but I was walking right towards a subdivision, or some kind of a development area. I saw it on the map, some place called Pimaco Two. That is where the gunfire was coming from. I was heading towards a mass of people, their homes, and some folks that were unhappy enough to be shooting at each other. I gotta do better than this.
This really rocked me back on my heels. So I figured I better use it and turn it into something productive. I decided to reassess everything I had and see where I was coming up short. I would turn that into a list and use the list to scavenge as I traveled. It will probably be easier said than done since I am going to be traveling mostly at night. But, I gotta start somewhere, and what better place to start that with a list. Here is where I am short:
- Firearm & ammo. Preferably an AR-15 but any carbine is a good choice, then shotgun, then pistol, then anything.
- First Aid supplies. Any kind of first aid supplies, I have little more supplies than stuff to stop bleeding. Other than that, I am tough out of luck.
- I spaced this one so bad it isn’t even funny. I mean I still have some food like granola bars, crackers, and the Mountain House…but that is it. I should have been thinking and looked for food as I was getting out of Tucson. But, I was just so focused on getting away that I didn’t think of much else. That my friend is called “tunnel vision” and it is going to cause me a whole lot of problems.
I could go on with the list but there is not much reason to. Without the above items very little else will matter. I gotta really start paying attention to what’s going on. This is “for real” and not some game or training. This is the way life is now, I better get used to it and pay attention to those things that will keep me alive.
I’m going to try and sleep, or at least rest, for a couple hours. I am heading out towards Benson as soon as the sun starts to dip.
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