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Tartron Flat, AZ
mini location map2014-01-26
3 by photographer avatarOutlander
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Tartron Flat, AZ 
Tartron Flat, AZ
Hiking16.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking16.00 Miles   11 Hrs      2.00 mph
1,500 ft AEG   3 Hrs    Break35 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The mission was to spend another day walking around Tartron Flat, west of Gila Bend.

Arrived at 0500 and walked the early hours under a waning crescent moon. It is easy to navigate the flats during the night, and on this occasion, there was only about 23% of the moon illuminated. It was a fortunate circumstance that creosote and sage are the predominate flora in the area, and spiny cacti few and far between, as stumbling into things is expected in the dark.

As I made my way south, I noticed a bright light in the sky near Lookout Mountain, a peak that is located in the hazard zone of the Barry M. Goldwater Range…known as “Area A”.

I kept my eye on it for two hours, taking a look with the binoculars, wondering what kind of aircraft it could possibly be. The unidentified flying object held its position and altitude, remaining almost stationary in the sky. Through the binos, the object showed several white lights on a translucent orb, which seemed to move around a bit. It definitely was not a helicopter. I finally came to the conclusion that it was an observation balloon or one of those new drone blimps that the military is using in Afghanistan.

The dirigibles have an array of cameras and infrared sensors, which the Air Force is likely using to monitor “foot traffic” across the bombing range. Their deployment will force the smugglers to abandon several lucrative avenues in the trail network. This would also explain how the BP was able to make contact with me two weeks ago, when they claimed to have seen me from an aircraft. I suspect that Homeland Security is more concerned about unexploded bombs being carted off by a nascent insurgency, than they are about the smuggling.

The strange light disappeared with the break of dawn, and it was time to do some spotting. It turned out to be a slow morning, with just one mule deer crossing my OP. It was heading back into the desert after a nocturnal foray into the alfalfa fields of Paloma Ranch.

The rest of the day was spent walking from one ironwood tree to another, looking for lost riches, bones, etc. The desert of the Tartron Flat has little shade other than a scattering of ironwood and mesquite trees, spaced in quarter mile intervals. The shade trees are magnets for all things of interest. And during the hot summer months, when not a drop of water can be found, the shade trees are places where life succumbs, a place to die.

16 miles and one hundred shade trees later, I found neither bones nor riches, but what a fine day it was. An interesting audio book kept me company along the way; Fur, Fortune, and Empire, from my new Sony MP3 player. It is the same make and model that I lost over at Table Mountain, a hike that has left me with a piece of Arizona flora permanently imbedded in my hand. They say it will dissolve eventually…
 Named place
 Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Cinder Mountain
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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