A couple days ago I was chatting with my friend Bob Busser about a growing danger to those of us who frequent wild places. Appearantly growing demand for marijuna has resulted in a number of illegal pot groves located on remote public lands. Some pot growers are now planting their crops on hard to reach sites on BLM, Forest Service, or even private timberlands. They’ll clear a space, till the soil, and even pipe water in from a nearby creek. If they should get busted, all they lose is the crop. Usually there is a grower/guard nearby to tend the crop and discourage intruders.
The downside of this phenomenon is that innocent outdoor enthusiasts like you and me might unwittingly stumble across one of these illegal pot plantations. The profits are great in the business and the owner/operators are not your typical paragons of virtue. Running into a pot patch could just get you killed. Conventional wisdom now among timber cruisers, foresters and similar workers is to immediately get the heck out of there as quickly as possible. The money involved is astronomical and a relatively small planting can net hundreds of thousands of dollars, thus contributing to the degree of violence with which the growers may defend their crops.
Ordinarily, the average outdoors enthusiast will not be likely to come across a pot plantation, because he growers are sharp enough to plant them in low traffic areas. But, like everything else, there are exceptions to every rule. Some years back, two buddies and were hiking along a popular trail along one of the main rivers in the Sierra. We approached a trio of men coming from the other direction who seemed a bit out of place. My buddies and I were adorned with fishing rods, creels, and fishing vests, but the fellows approaching us carried short barreled riot guns and wore bulging back packs. It wasn’t hunting season and something didn’t seem right.
As our two groups passed each other, not a word was spoken and the hair was standing up on the back of my neck. I’m pretty sure we had passed a group of pot growers taking their crop to market. Quite truthfully, if that never happens again, that will be just fine with me. If you should come across a pot growing area, don’t panic, just stay calm and exit the area. Watching your surroundings is pretty good advice wherever you are. But if you spot plastic irrigation lines leading away from a wilderness creek, I recommend that you stifle your curiosity and get the heck out of there ASAP!
On a brief side note, occasionally I come across weird outdoor discoveries. A week or two ago I ended up with about 20 rounds of perfectly good ammunition for a 41 magnum pistol. If you’d like these rounds at no charge, contact me by email at don.moyer @gmail & the first to contact me can have them.
Until Next Week,