Section 3: Yuma to Nogales
Another day of no miles devoted to the website, emailing, and figuring out the logistical puzzle of our upcoming section.
Is that all? Early in the day we travel to the Marine Corps Air Station, a sprawling complex that serves as a base for flight training throughout the area.
The first 50 miles of El Camino del Diablo run through the military-owned Barry M. Goldwater Range, and we are required to obtain a permit and sign a liability waiver. A disinterested receptionist hands us the paperwork and we sit next to a couple of other people filling out the same forms. It’s a popular route for motorists with 4-wheel drive and a taste for adventure but we haven’t heard of any other hikers.
The liability waiver is ridiculous and details a 2 page list of the many dangers of the area, chief among them remote terrain, unexploded munitions, training bombings, and “smugglers and illegal aliens”. Here’s an excerpt we initialed: we’re aware that “access also presents the danger of permanent, painful, disabling, and disfiguring injury or death due to high explosive detonations from falling objects such as aircraft, aerial targets, live ammunition, missiles, bombs, and other other similar dangerous situations. There are also physical injury and health dangers from ground and aerial LASER and other electromagnetic emissions.” If you’re willing to take on these risks and waive your right to sue, they’ll give you a permit which allows you to travel the area, as long as you stay on the road at all times. Any deviation from this route could kill you, as they remind you several times. To further protect against DEATH they have a network of emergency beacons throughout the area that can be activated to call for help, which will arrive within the hour. Good to know.
After receiving our permits and getting nowhere in our attempt to find further information on our route, we return to the library and computers to get more work done. The rest of the day is uneventful and devoted to chores. Hopefully we’ll have more interesting info to share in a couple days when we return to hiking!