April 17, 2015
After the town of Safford, Arizona the route crosses a plot of private agricultural land near the Gila River.
I’ve never had any problems with land owners or managers. In New Zealand, a farm manager offered me a meal and a place to stay. In the States, ranchers come out to say Hello. On this route, a rancher offered me a place to crash.
Today I was scared though because a farm’s employee sexually harassed me.
I was walking a dirt road between plots, removed from civilization, when I spot a John Deere tractor approach me from behind. I assume it’s the farm manager coming to see what I’m up to and stop walking. But it’s not the manager.
When I tell him what I’m up to-walking from Phoenix to Albuquerque- he says he’ll drive me there RIGHT NOW. “No, I’m walking,” I have to say over and over. He doesn’t get it. Then he says he wants to take me into the mountains to fuck and that he’ll go get his car right now. “You want money?” he asks repeatedly. The corners of his mouth twitch and he gazes at me like I’m a steak. I want to vomit. “Are you scared?” he asks. Yes mother fucker!
I walk away and he leaves, but I feel paranoid. Will he come look for me? I’m on dirt roads for awhile. I tuck my hair into my hat, maybe if I look like a boy they won’t bother me.
Back in the wilderness I feel safe again. The canyons are my refuge.
I aim for Bonita Creek, 31 miles from Safford. Surely he won’t find me there.
Throughout the night, animals big and small, perform their nightly rituals. Wild turkeys gobble, something descends a rocky slope, something crashes through the trees.
People always ask me if I carry a gun for bears and mountain lions. But it’s not the animals you have to worry about…