I’m telling you a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty, just don’t be this guy. For the sake of the story, we’ll call him Dave.
It was early January, a fine brisk day with the daytime temperatures around 65 in the day and 40 at night. After traveling the 40 mile off road trip Scottish Lass Foothills to The Mountain of Gold with some people who actually knew the roads Dave thought it would be a great idea to try it himself the next weekend. Being from out of state made it even better, he was a true desert greenhorn. To make the pot sweeter Dave also brought along his girlfriend and dog.
As far as preparation goes he was like a rancher, who after shoveling shit for hours decided to make dinner for his family without washing his hands. He brought along a grand total of one sports drink, had no spare tire, no extra gas, no map, GPS, no gun, no food, no easy way to make a fire or stay warm and was wearing sandals. His girlfriend we’ll call Sally was smart enough to at least wear tennis shoes. His sole saving grace was that he actually had a decent off road rig, a nice Jeep with good tires. The both wore light jackets.
Dave’s intentions were pure I’m sure, take the pooch and girlfriend out for a nice drive, have a few laughs, maybe a little fun and come home again. Keep in mind this area almost 20 miles from any paved road, no cell service and if you did not know the area you could spend days wandering lost and end up dead from hypothermia as the night temperatures dip below freezing with any kind of rain.
Lucky for Dave and Sally a few friends and I were on a day trip heading his direction that same morning, up Slim Shady Creek towards D’yer Wash trying to make our way over near Lost Keg Camp. After about an hour on the quads we stopped in D’yer Wash proper to stretch our legs, have a snack and some water. As we dismounted the quads up they pulled up. Now we had found some mighty fine gold nuggets on our first trip to Lost Keg Camp. The bedrock was abundant, a very nice blend of schists and granite and, the area had a lot of good potential. Our detectors had easily made short work of the area last trip, we snatched up all the easy nuggets and knew more were there.
The first question out of his mouth was “How do you get out of these mountains?” One of my friends could not resist a little fun and said, “You don’t.” He began to explain his predicament, driving in circles for hours, low on gas and he was sure the right road was here. The road had to be here, it was last weekend. “It moved.” One of my friends said. I went on to explain how he was miles from where he wanted to be and that if he was not familiar with the area it might all look the same.
It was easy to see and understandable that Dave was feeling like a bit of a jackass in front of his girlfriend. Sally had clearly lost respect for him. As we chatted and joked we gave them water and snacks. Dave even made a comment about how much water we had. Indeed. We were prepared for a week easy and just about anything that came our way human or natural.
We assured Dave that we would get him back to safety after we had sometime to chat. We knew it was a trip that was scratched. After an hour or two, we reluctantly began riding back out guiding him home; we sure would have liked to have stuck to our plans.
As we rode along, we also were convinced to make the best of the trip and stop here and there to look at anything cool. At one point on out trip out at an interesting stop and I’ll never know why, Dave actually became angry and confrontational with us. Perhaps it was fear or embarrassment. I remember we all looked him in the eye and someone said “If you don’t like it you are welcomed to leave.” Sally would not have it and told him to behave and be nice. He walked away mumbling under his breath returning to his Jeep to sit. We asked Sally if she wanted to go for a little walk. She did and seemed to truly enjoy herself as we showed he some cool rocks and minerals in a nearby wash.
Once back we found Dave sullen as ever. We all mounted up and began riding out. Once we got him back near Seven O’ Nine Flats and near people again we pointed the way home, just keep driving a few miles and there would be the road. Sally thanked us with a genuine smile. Dave took one last look at us and said “I’m gonna roll.” And that he did.
Low on time and far away from where we wanted to be my friends and I smiled and made the best of the rest of the day. That must have been our real purpose that day, rescuing a greenhorn, his dog and gal, I’ll never know.
If we did not come across Dave and Sally, they surely would have had a cold, uncomfortable night and possibly with rain, hypothermia by midnight. Again, I want to stress being prepared. Even a simple kit consisting of a knife, matches, lighter, magnesium fire starter, space blankets, candy bars and some bright bandanas would have helped them make it out if we did not happen along. The best part? A small kit like that could easily fit into a backpack. The moral of the story, go prepared or die. Don’t be a greenhorn lost in the mountains.