European explorers relied heavily on native guides to lead them successfully through the perilous unknown, from one watering hole to the next; among them was Padre Eusebio Kino, who made missionary and scientific trips along the Camino beginning in , and drew its first maps. There were several variations on the route.
The shortest course offered the least water, which could have dire consequences. Thirst was less of a problem on longer trails, but those risked Apache attack. Faced with this choice, some believed the safest strategy was to go the long way in the hottest days of summer, when the Apaches tended to retreat to the mountains. Traffic along the Camino peaked in the midth century, as prospectors were lured across it to the Gold Rush in California.
In the early s, over 10, people, many from Latin America, made the difficult trek each year — it was during this time that the trail claimed the most lives and earned its diabolical name. No one keeps track of exactly how many travelers the Camino sees today. The manager of the Cabeza Prieta refuge, Sid Slone, guesses that up to 1, people may drive its length each year.
And Mr. Slone has never heard of any of them dying in the desert. I embarked on the Camino from the Yuma side, passing through an opening in a wire fence on the edge of the community of Fortuna Foothills. A sandy washboard road unfurled into the 1. The sun blazed through a cloudless sky, but the temperature was comfortably in the 80s. Ocotillos, which look like plants that might have been designed by Tim Burton, swung their skeletal boughs in an eerie yet cheery welcome.
To my right, signs alerted visitors in English and Spanish about the presence of unexploded ordnance and lasers in use. My left-hand view was framed by the serrated ridgeline of the Gila Mountains. This is classic Basin-and-Range country, where flat valleys lie between rows of rugged, uplifted mountains.
Contrary to images of deserts as lifeless wastelands, I found myself crossing a spectacularly complex ecosystem. The Sonoran is the most biodiverse desert in the world. This section of it alone is home to more than animal species not counting insects , and some types of plants, including the saguaro cactus.
Perhaps the most likable member of the plant kingdom, each saguaro appears to have a unique personality — depending on how their arms are posed, some seem to be waving hello while others stand guard, some are praying for mercy while others are high-kicking the cancan. Even better than driving past them is walking among them, taking time to gape at these elephantine cactuses that may live for years. Thankfully, more than a million acres on either side of the Camino is federally protected wilderness.
Navigating with ,scale United States Geological Survey maps, as well as the Goldwater range map, which can be picked up at the Cabeza Prieta office in Ajo or downloaded online, I aimed southeast.
I was hoping to camp near Tinajas Altas, the most reliable water source along the Camino. A set of 15 pools stacked one above the other, hollowed into the granite of the Tinajas Altas Mountains, these natural tanks can hold some 20, gallons of rainwater but are rarely full. From even a short distance away, they are invisible. In past centuries, tribes came to hunt bighorn sheep; once the meat was taken, bighorn bones were ritually stacked along nearby footpaths and were sometimes ceremonially cremated.
For all the financial sophistication and innovation, at its core this bubble was no different than the Dutch tulips. Still, I believe there are times when societies lose their heads, and I think this was one of those times. TFT: Has the American dream of owning a home now shifted, given the difficulties so many in this country are now having? JN: I don't think so.
Basically, government policy encouraged the idea that the American dream and homeownership were one and the same. I think that many people feel chagrined, in that they thought they were going to partake of the American dream and buy a home but now feel burned and angered by what has happened. But what will change is the notion that anyone can own a home, whether they can afford it or not. And that should change.
Skip to main content. TFT: Care to put a time frame on when another crisis might happen? TFT: And who would be next in line? During the Republican presidential primary debate Tuesday night, Texas Sen.
Ted Cruz called for returning the United The world has no shortage of doom-saying economists ready to advise investors to stock up on gold against a coming When push came to Merced College. Did you know that you can purchase succulents, flowers and other pla Come and check it out this evening, July 9, from p. We hope to see you there! See More. The academic year financial aid paperwork deadline is Thursd All paperwork must be filed to the Merced or Los Banos Financial Aid Offices by the end of the deadline to receive any financial aid for the academic year.
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