Part of being young is being stupid. Sometimes you never grow out of it. Add to that a derranged lust of the clandestine or forbidden and you are
ready to push limits with a youthful vigor that only obliviousness to better judgement can redeem.
We had my truck packed for the world's best camping trip. It was early May do the blistering heat of the desert hadn't really set in
yet. The cooler stocked with beer, the camera and equipment secure, and the 2001 Blazer filled with gas and ready for the off road journey.
The destination? Approximately 450 miles due northwest via Freeways, bypasses loops, and Highways.
I remember asking,
"So this map you have is for sure the boundary? Open dispersed camping is legal once we get there".
He responded, "Yeah it's just south of the peak, and goes West about 3 or 4 miles from the highway".
"So I am guessing there is fence where you can't get any closer?"
"If we stay down in the valley due West we will be outside the boundary. And we turn at the first road not the second road.".
The pulloff marked only by a stop sign. Screw the other road. Pictures we had showed a desolate road heading down into a valley towards a distant
My Friend said, "The boundary on the map runs parallel to the the Eastern part of that ridge. So we should wait until near sunset and find
somewhere in the valley to camp. Past the dry riverbed about a mile in."
Do we held off and got something to eat. With our spirits high, we ate at a local nearby kitsch restaurant and absorbed the atmosphere. Afterwards
it was time to be remarkably stupid.
After what seemed like a only a few miles or so in to our forbidden trek down the dirt road the third member of our expedition got an intuitive
feeling after think he saw something.
"I think we just crossed the line he said."
"Naw that's a few miles ahead. There will be signs on a fence." The Navigator said.
"Are you sure, it looked new. I think he need to turn around."
"Well pull off soon before we get too close to the ridge."
About 300 meters later there was a dry playa, an area of monsoonal water flow that veered off to the right into a flat area. Here was our campsite.
We started to set everything up in earnest. The tent was brought out, the cooler raided and the camera set up.
No lights in the distance, only crickets and the sound of the desert at night to be heard. Though we found the perfect spot.
A plans now go to waste.
About an hour in. Our everparanoid companion said,
"I sear I hear something rolling slowly cracking the ground as it moves."
Neither of us heard it, but this dude was tuned in.
Increasingly freaked out he said, "It sounds like a car."
As we started to disregard him comically (as if right on queue) an engine revved up. About 30 yards from US a truck was pointing it's brights
directly at us.
At that point more vehicles pulled up behind them and suddenly our paranoid friend was owed an apology.
He then heard the voices of the people as they became clear in their headlights. The really do wear desert tan camoflague.
"You can't camp here, you are on government administered land posted as no trespassing."
My fear was too wound up in the pit of my stomach to process exactly what was happening, but I remember hearing,
"We need your camera and any film you may have shot."
I said, "We didn't know we had crossed on to government property"
"Well now you do", said Camo Dude.
"What happens now?"
And as I thought, "well at least they are being lenient", he finished his statement.
"As soon as Nye County Sherrif arrive to tow your vehicle and cite you for trespassing."
The trip of the lifetime. The one bound to get that awesome footage and tread the fine line of risk/reward ended at a Tonopah, Nevada impound.
It was my first time f***ing with Area 51, and in retrospect I wish I listened to that friend that said "turn around".
edit on 2-11-2020 by Degradation33 because: (no reason given)
edit on Tue Nov 24 2020 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no