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Unread 09-07-2013, 12:11 AM
 
Location: SW Colorado
1,576 posts, read 767,000 times
Reputation: 2703
Default How safe is it for a single woman to stay at Southern Arizona's National parks?

I'm losing my housing up here in Colorado. My landlord gave me a notice to vacate by September 30th, and I've been trying to find a new apartment, but so far to no avail. We've had an influx of oil and gas workers around here, and they've really upped the rents with the per diem pay in their pockets. In addition, I have a dog and a cat and the landlords have decided to be picky about pets, since they can be picky about everything else these days.

I am really, really hoping it won't come down to this, but right now it looks like it could be a major possibility that I end up homeless with winter coming on.

So, when I'm not looking for housing on Craigslist, etc., I've been trying to figure out a contingency plan. Up here home in Colorado, I'm a fearless backroads wanderer - I go out camping alone as often or more than I go with friends - and I'm talking tent camping - can't afford an RV and never much cared for them, anyhow. I've been doing my thing in the Colorado mountains for 30 years now and have had a lot of fun and any difficulties I've ever run into just become great stories to tell about on my return to town.

So, I'm thinking that if all else fails, I can turn my current nightmare into an opportunity to go snow birding down in ya'll's fantastic state. Its been forever since I was last down to places like Organ Pipe National Monument, etc., but I remember Arizona public lands in the southern part of the state to be mild and warm and just down right inviting - especially when compared to Colorado in December. I figure I can put my stuff here into storage, throw my camping gear plus dog and cat into my truck, and off we go on an exciting new adventure! We can stay at campgrounds on Arizona public lands for hardly any cash to speak of (I have a parks discount card), and move on to a new interesting place every 2 weeks. My only real cost will be gasoline to get down and back. I can save up my money and return back to Colorado in April or May with the cash for a new, permanent place here.

But when I mention my idea to my friends, they're all like - "Well, don't you know about the Mexican mafia? And what about all those "coyotes" trying to get across the border by using roads on isolated public lands that border Mexico? What about all those desparate illegals just pouring over across the Rio Grande? Wouldn't want to get in THEIR way! What about all the shoot-outs at the OK Corral? You are CRAZEE, girl! Just stay here and crash on my couch."

I don't want to crash on my friends' couches. That's just not in me to live off of some one else's charity. I'd rather stick with plan A. So, am I "CRAZEE" for considering this? Should I buy myself a 12 guage before I leave? Please, oh my neighbors in Arizona, tell me what's REALLY going on in your state.

 
Unread 09-07-2013, 01:20 AM
Status: "Lighten up life's too short." (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Out there somewhere...
25,566 posts, read 16,844,987 times
Reputation: 69583
Well your friends are pretty close on their observations. Organ Pipe Natl Monument is a haven for illegals and drug runners crossing the desert areas. The whole southwest has it's desert crossing illegal problems.
Here's one of several articles about it. Desert Invasion US - Articles on the invasion in Organ Pipe National Monument and the destruction of border forests and border deserts
 
Unread 09-07-2013, 07:07 AM
 
Location: SW Colorado
1,576 posts, read 767,000 times
Reputation: 2703
Quote:
Originally Posted by wit-nit View Post
Well your friends are pretty close on their observations. Organ Pipe Natl Monument is a haven for illegals and drug runners crossing the desert areas. The whole southwest has it's desert crossing illegal problems.
Here's one of several articles about it. Desert Invasion US - Articles on the invasion in Organ Pipe National Monument and the destruction of border forests and border deserts
Thanks (I guess). Maybe I should just winter over in Canyonlands.

From your link:

Quote:
It's just barren, desolate desert, right?

That couldn't be farther from the truth. Our National Parks, National Monuments, National Forests, and National Wildlife Refuges were designated as such because of their unique and irreplaceable natural beauty and character. Many of these areas represent the last remaining intact ecosystems of their type and many are sanctuaries, way-points and destinations for migrating bird species.
This makes me very sad. The last time I visited southern Arizona was back in the 80's and the National Parks and Forests were wonderful. So sad to see how things there have deteriorated.

So, what about places that aren't right on the border? Any better?

Last edited by Colorado Rambler; 09-07-2013 at 07:20 AM..
 
Unread 09-07-2013, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Yuma, AZ
581 posts, read 670,243 times
Reputation: 693
Those articles are too dated to be of much value. If Organ Pipe is the preferred destination, call the Rangers there for up to date information on illegal activity and general safety. If you are interested in what RV'ers refer to as boondocking (parking and camping with no amenities provided) there are thousands of acres of BLM (google BLM LTVA AZ) land in AZ for you to explore. I wouldn't imagine your cat would last long tho'....even feral cats end up as a meal for some critter in the desert. A 12 Ga wouldn't be a bad idea, or a .357...

Over all, your plan to live in the desert and save money seems to have a few holes in it. It's a 2000 mile journey round trip...at 30 MPG = $200+, I understand by living on government land you are saving your former rent money, but where are the savings you anticipate going to come from ? Retirement income ?

Canyonlands in winter....brrr

Good Luck
Gemstone1
 
Unread 09-07-2013, 09:04 AM
 
Location: SW Colorado
1,576 posts, read 767,000 times
Reputation: 2703
Quote:
Originally Posted by gemstone1 View Post
Those articles are too dated to be of much value. If Organ Pipe is the preferred destination, call the Rangers there for up to date information on illegal activity and general safety. If you are interested in what RV'ers refer to as boondocking (parking and camping with no amenities provided) there are thousands of acres of BLM (google BLM LTVA AZ) land in AZ for you to explore. I wouldn't imagine your cat would last long tho'....even feral cats end up as a meal for some critter in the desert. A 12 Ga wouldn't be a bad idea, or a .357...

Over all, your plan to live in the desert and save money seems to have a few holes in it. It's a 2000 mile journey round trip...at 30 MPG = $200+, I understand by living on government land you are saving your former rent money, but where are the savings you anticipate going to come from ? Retirement income ?

Canyonlands in winter....brrr

Good Luck
Gemstone1
Actually, if I take I-40, it's only 466 miles each way from Cortez to Tucson for a round trip of total of 932 miles with an estimated fuel cost of $83.00 each way (according to Map Quest). I live maybe 20 miles from the Arizona line - I'm not contemplating a trip all the way from Denver or something.

I was kind of kidding about bringing the cat, although I once spent a summer camped out with my cat on the San Miguel River here in Colorado. That was one special cat, however. I'd probably just foster my current kitty out with the local rescue group for a few months.

BLM, no prob! I prefer camping on BLM lands here in Colorado - fewer rules, more freedom to do what I please and let my dog run around off the leash. BLM doesn't give a damn, where-as the National Parks have hissy fits over EVERYTHING! Plus, I've been looking for an excuse to hit a gun show and pick up a 12 guage anyways. Need to snap one up before the gubbermint stops me.

And yeah - I'm talking my retirement income. If I happened across the opportunity to pick up some work in a little town down there, I wouldn't mind. But glancing over the threads here, it doesn't sound as though Bisbee or what-ever is exactly over-flowing with casual jobs. Guess ya'll give those to the illegals?

Come on, Arizonans! There must be still a few of you who are true Westerners with a feel for the land. Every last one of you can't be hanging out in downtown Phoenix 24/7, getting drunk, and hiding behind 6 foot walls like in that other thread here.

Calling all rural/outdoorsy Arizonans! Info, please?

Last edited by Colorado Rambler; 09-07-2013 at 09:17 AM..
 
Unread 09-08-2013, 12:17 AM
 
709 posts, read 958,132 times
Reputation: 1017
There is a place a few miles from Safford...Tanque Hot Wells...nice sand dunes, camping is cheap...or free, and the Hot Wells stay toasty all winter.And few if any illegals.
 
Unread 09-08-2013, 12:19 AM
 
709 posts, read 958,132 times
Reputation: 1017
And it is BLM

Recreation.gov recreation area details - Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area - Recreation.gov
 
Unread 09-08-2013, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Arizona
1,893 posts, read 748,717 times
Reputation: 1014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
Actually, if I take I-40, it's only 466 miles each way from Cortez to Tucson for a round trip of total of 932 miles with an estimated fuel cost of $83.00 each way (according to Map Quest). I live maybe 20 miles from the Arizona line - I'm not contemplating a trip all the way from Denver or something.

I was kind of kidding about bringing the cat, although I once spent a summer camped out with my cat on the San Miguel River here in Colorado. That was one special cat, however. I'd probably just foster my current kitty out with the local rescue group for a few months.

BLM, no prob! I prefer camping on BLM lands here in Colorado - fewer rules, more freedom to do what I please and let my dog run around off the leash. BLM doesn't give a damn, where-as the National Parks have hissy fits over EVERYTHING! Plus, I've been looking for an excuse to hit a gun show and pick up a 12 guage anyways. Need to snap one up before the gubbermint stops me.

And yeah - I'm talking my retirement income. If I happened across the opportunity to pick up some work in a little town down there, I wouldn't mind. But glancing over the threads here, it doesn't sound as though Bisbee or what-ever is exactly over-flowing with casual jobs. Guess ya'll give those to the illegals?

Come on, Arizonans! There must be still a few of you who are true Westerners with a feel for the land. Every last one of you can't be hanging out in downtown Phoenix 24/7, getting drunk, and hiding behind 6 foot walls like in that other thread here.

Calling all rural/outdoorsy Arizonans! Info, please?
you can just about go wherever you please. if your plan is to come in the winter just stay away from the mountains. I don't quite understand your plans though? Are you going to have a vehicle, what are u going to do for food etc
 
Unread 09-08-2013, 03:34 AM
 
Location: SW Colorado
1,576 posts, read 767,000 times
Reputation: 2703
Quote:
Originally Posted by CinSonic View Post
you can just about go wherever you please. if your plan is to come in the winter just stay away from the mountains. I don't quite understand your plans though? Are you going to have a vehicle, what are u going to do for food etc
Yep, got my 4wd, go anywhere Toyota truck complete with all camping gear. I'll still have a small income, and I don't require gourmet cuisine. A pack of mac n cheese with a can of green peas thrown in and cooked over a mesquite campfire works nicely for me. Cheap thrills.

If I found a spot on the BLM that I really liked then I'd probably just hang out there for a while. I've never seen that 14 day camping rule enforced by the BLM. Not in Colorado, anyway. It would be nice if I could find a spot within 20 miles or so of some small town where I could show up now and then, hit the laundromat and the local library, maybe pick up some forwarded mail.

I certainly wouldn't want to camp in the mountains around Flag, but what's wrong with the ones further south from the Mogollon Rim?
 
Unread 09-08-2013, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Yuma, AZ
581 posts, read 670,243 times
Reputation: 693
"but what's wrong with the ones further south from the Mogollon Rim?"

Anytime you climb in elevation, the temperature drops, chances for snow increase....even in AZ....and you are escaping CO for that reason, right ? Heck, the most prominent summit in AZ, Mt Graham, is south of the rim by a long way. The mtns south of I-10 will still get snow, not sure of the ones south of I-8, but I suppose they could.
Your best bet to escape the cold, is to head to the southwest corner, still plenty of BLM land, still some mtns to hike/camp in, you might even find employment at the Quartzsite gathering, where hundreds of vendors set up a huge marketplace to service the thousands of RV'ers who flock to the BLM lands there each year....but it can still get cold.
I've seen 28 degrees in Yuma at 5AM....but by 11, it's back to just a shirt.

Good Luck, come on down, there's plenty of room.

Regards
Gemstone1
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