There was a story told to me by two people camped here at Gunsight Wash about a woman and her son who lived in the desert behind the BLM boondocking area. She was known as the crazy lady. Sometimes people get an unflattering label attached to them just because they are different than what we perceive is normal. This story is based mostly on rumor but here is what was told to me:
Long before this land was BLM, a woman and her son lived in Ajo, AZ. It is not altogether certain if the son got mixed up with the wrong crowd and got into drugs or if he was afflicted by some disorder like severe ADD, but whatever the reason, the mother took her son and moved to a remote part of the desert. No one knows what they lived in or much of anything more about how they lived. The story is that every day the woman would walk her son two miles to the road where he would meet the bus. There are rumors of how they lived but the only fact that can be substantiated is the display of rocks that the boy crafted during their time there.
I wanted to see if there was any evidence of the rock art that still existed so I rode Honda back through the desert yesterday. The people camped there gratiously showed me around and told me what they knew about the lady and her son. Apparently, the son did most of the work of carrying stones, laying them in heart-shaped rings around every bush and tree, making walkways, and building rock gardens. It was probably some kind of therapy activity.
The people that are camped there now are cleaning up some of the trash left. I guess not all the old lady and her son’s activities were making home beautiful. Eventually, the land became BLM and they moved all squatters out.
Ajo was home to the first copper mine in AZ, but since it closed the only thing that keeps the town alive is the tourists driving through to visit Organ Pipe National Monument, and the modern, mega complex located a few miles south in Why, AZ., comprising the headquarters to hundreds of boarder patrol agents. Every day the helicopter stationed there takes off to patrol the surrounding area.
Organ Pipe cactus don’t like frost. They are mostly indigenous to Mexico but some thrive in the south part of Arizona. This is all part of the Sonoran Desert, a place so arid that here the Saguaro have trouble getting enough moisture to make arms. Where I’m camped about the only thing growing is creosote bushes. Everyone says that no one is enforcing the 14 day limit. Even the camp host says that if a ranger comes through and says anything we will just play musical chairs and shuffle everyone up.