I am currently reading Edward Abbey's Beyond the Wall
. The first chapter, titled A Walk in the Desert Hills
chronicles a 115 mile backpacking trip across the Barry M. Goldwater Gunnery Range in southeastern Arizona. The chapter was originally published as an essay in GEO magazine in 1983, but presented at the University of California San Deigo in April 1982. I cannot figure out when the actual trip took place. Much of Abbey's trek follows the El Camino del Diablo
jeep trail that our own Randal Schulhauser has so kindly written a description for. Abbey describes many mountain ranges, springs, wells, gravesites and other landmarks along his route. Looking a the TrailDEX I can find a few of the landmarks, but most I cannot. Also some of the landmarks seem to be named slightly different than Abbey's description, such as his "Pinto Range" seems to coincide with "Sierra Pinta" on the map. Perhaps the most confusing is the mention of his endpoint being the small town of "Bagdad". The only Bagdad I know of in Arizona is located due west of Prescott, approximately 150 miles north from the present-day eastern terminus of El Camino del Diablo at Ajo. Anyone know anything more about Abbey's trek or the naming of the landmarks in this seldom seen corner of the state? I personally have a specific interest in this area just from driving Interstate 8 and being awestruck by the Mohawk Mountains. Here is a rundown of the landmarks mentioned by Abbey, which I’ve noted in parenthesis whether or not I have found them either on the map or in Randal’s description. Plotting Randal’s GPS route on the TrailDEX map proved helpful in finding the approximate route:
Abbey was picked up by friends in at a bus-stop in Why (found).
Dropped off in the desert "north of the highway" before Stone Tanks (?)
Abbey walks east on a jeep road, destination = "Bagdad" (?)
Enters USAF Gunnery Range (found = Barry M. Goldwater Range).
Mentions nearby possible water sources: Buck Tank (?), Cabeza Tank (? - maybe Cabeza Prieta Tanks) and Tule Tank(found - in Cabeza Prieta) which are in the Gran Cabezon Mountains (? - 99% sure it is on the map as Cabeza Prieta Range), described as "volcanic dome".
After passing through the Gran Cabezon, Abbey reaches El Camino del Diablo.
Mentions Tule Peak (?) looming above.
Heads to Pozo Nuevo Well (? - the only one nearby about 40 miles east of where Abbey should be at this point)
Abbey heads east past the Tule Mountains (found), across the Tule Desert (found) across the Malpais Lava Field (must be the Pinacate Lava Flow), across the Pinto Sands (found as Pinta Sands) and past the Pinto Mountains (found as Sierra Pinta).
Along the the way, finds Nameer's Grave (found - see Randal's description).
Heads toward the O'Brian Hills (? - nearby is the Bryan Mountains but are well north of Camino, maybe O’Neill Hills)
Can see the Seco Mountains (?), finds O'Brian's Grave (?).
Reaches Pozo Viejo Well (?) which is off-trail from El Camino del Diablo.
Shortcuts through a pass between Bighorn Mountain (? – possibly Sheep Mountain) and the Antelope Hills (found) to rejoin El Camino del Diablo in the Mohawk Valley (found).
Leaves Gunnery Range, can see Hatchet Peak (?).
Reaches Gray’s Well (?).
Early in the essay he mentions Sweetwater Mountains (?), Charlie Bell Mountains (?) and Pinnacle Mountains (found - Pinnacle Peak is a peak near Ajo)