The rocky rim of MadJag Canyon consisted of sharp-edged boulders of vesicular basalt, a type of ancient lava. Our access to the canyon bottom was down steep drainages, known in the southwest as “washes”. Heavily laden with thick brush and trees and a series of boulder steps piled haphazardly, these hikes were our primary way to enter and leave the canyon. Only two washes met our security standards and were used for many years. Our main boulder staircase was affectionately nicknamed “The Salt Mine” for the sweat it produced on every hike.
The 15 mile-long canyon cannot be hiked in both directions, top to bottom. There are several sections with huge waterfall drops that would require technical climbing and were avoided, limiting our access to specific sections. We explored at least 8 different access lines, some even straight down the side of 50 degree slopes. We ultimately settled upon two washes that we used exclusively for years in our weekly visits.
The natural beauty of the canyon floor was due to a year-round stream that created a remarkable riparian environment. If a person stood on the canyon’s edge and looked below, they would not see any standing or moving water due to the dense trees covering its flow. This factor always comforted us, especially in the summer, though few people would dare to hike down 1,500 feet on a 95 degree day without knowing if they’d find water.
Madjag Canyon has other names. Over century ago it was named for its physical characteristics, its difficult terrain. I’ve spent over one year, 400 days and nights, at the bottom of this special canyon. Once the Wizards made it their home, the only geographical name that mattered was Madjag.
The Blue Wizard points to the heart of Madjag Canyon……a place of cannabis rejuvenation and peace. His presence on the rim always brought powerful medicine.
To speak about the importance of Sacred Seeds Skunk #1 and what it means to the world of cannabis is a difficult task. The vast majority of modern day hybrid varieties exhibit some genetic influence from this seed line. Sure, there are global landraces that remain untouched and heirlooms that are unique and isolated. The fact remains that Sam Skunkman and Robert Clarke started a revolution of such magnitude in the breeding of quality cannabis that the ramifications will reverberate beautifully for generations to come.
I met Rob Clarke of Sacred Seeds through one of his articles in High Times magazine circa 1979. I was hypnotized by his genetic wizardry and stony scientific skills. I wrote to him through the magazine and made contact. The previous year in Madjag Canyon, my first, was successful enough to allow me to purchase 3,000 Skunk #1 seeds. Rob delivered our seeds in person because we were his largest seed customer at that time. And how perfect it turned out to be.
Our well-hidden, 10′ x 10′ brown Coleman Classic tent, our home away from home. You cannot imagine how amazing a summer night-time monsoon thunderstorm can be until you’ve slept through one in a tent. Junipers and Pines shielded our tent from serious direct winds, however it was the pouring rain and flashes of lightning that were the most daunting. Deep canyons amplify thunder intensively. The echo alone can outlast the original clap for several seconds, shaking the tent and maybe even the occupants….
Once you reach Mogollon Rim Country, the drive to Madjag Canyon doesn’t take long. Surprisingly, it was right in front of everyone, hiding in plain site.
We worked in the middle of everywhere.
Every night ended by the hidden campfire. Our fire was below ground in a narrow fire pit. Occasionally we added too much wood and the flames popped through the grill. Our night-time tea was accompanied with a nice Single Malt or Tequila Reposado and gave us a good night’s rest. Still, our senses were tuned to nature and the slightest sound would awaken one of us. We didn’t want to wake up to flashlights in our face, eh?