Sunday, November 09, 2008

ARIZONA'S OUTLAW FORTRESS

A REAL-LIFE HOLE-IN-THE-WALLHere is a photo of the original. History buffs will know that is located in Johnson county, Wyoming, in the Big Horn mountains--its most famous residents, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Not so well known is the fact that several outlaw gangs sheltered there simultaneously in relative harmony, with codes of conduct understood and enforced. Truly "honor among thieves." One outlaw gang comprised 75 armed and mounted men--a veritable army. Also not well known is the fact that the fortress was never penetrated by the law despite several attempts by determined posses. All were turned back, often with casualties. Amazingly, the outlaws held on to their sanctuary for 50 years. It faded from history by 1910.
Spread out below me is a real life band of "outlaws" taking refuge in Arizona's version of the infamous criminal fortress. Our "crime" is trespassing on state land. I daresay that only I actually bought a permit and am legal. The others know all about the forgiveness/permission paradox and are not worried. We are camped on the outer lip of the canyon because cell reception is good here AND because the inner canyon has gotten a bit scary. Unsavory and dangerous characters are said to live "in there."
And of course I want to go "in there." This nice lady pointed the way and described the dangers.
This hole-in-the-wall, like that in Wyoming, is a narrow one road in or out canyon.
Barely inside a hundred yards, I encountered this unlikely occupant, an attractive lady camping with her dog. She's on a cross country adventure to the coast. I approached, chatted, and told her my mission, and she----surprise----wanted to go with me. Together we journeyed.
At an abandoned campsite we found this clock. Stolen, abandoned loot?
Notice the semi hidden camper in mid picture.

This hole-in-the-wall is full of surprises.
This "outlaw" is obviously a minimalist camper. He waved--friendly like.
But later as we were leaving, things turned sour for him. He was required to squat under guard while another officer searched his vehicle. Unlike Wyoming, the law has penetrated here.
Denizens of outlaw canyon. There's a good story here but I don't have time to tell it.
Ah, but mostly the campers here are respectable, adventurous, warm-hearted folks. These were curious to tour my stealthy trailer. They listened to one of my poems and gave me a friendly bon voyage.

Marcy, it turns out is a very interesting lady, a practitioner of the arcane art of quantum touch. (www.chibodywork.net) She tried in vain to explain. In return for computer time and wine she brought me up to speed on couch surfing (a hospitality exchange network) and she enriched my writing with two memorable phrases: “frightened people who throw their fears on me” and “thinking from their television set.”

I think I will not reveal the location of this desperado canyon. My friend Glen chastises me often for betraying boondocker secrets. I will just say that it is accessible from Az hwy 95 between Needles and Parker.

4 comments:

A Rogue Life said...

"Desperado, why dont you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate."

Looks like the gates are wide open. Great blog post.

wisesongbird said...

Wonderfully interesting piece but of course, we want to hear the great story you have no time to tell here. Future blog? Love the vicarious experiences. Thanks.

Mister X said...

Making my gypsy blood yearn here, man.

I'd love to have a word with you, when you have some time. I'll give your blog a look for contact info.(I don't want the webcrawlers to get mine by posting it here.)

Randy said...

Thank you Rogue, wisesongbird and mister x for your comments. Most bloggers really appreciate those who go to the trouble to comment--even more than big numbers on our stats. I read lots of blogs and over time I get the feel for their slant on life--and that enriches me. Anyone who wishes to contact me privately can use randythepoet@yahoo.com.