The Selected Quirks of Madjag

The Madjag Chronicles were compiled as memoirs and mental snapshots of my experiences during the 1978-1982 guerrilla growing years in Madjag Canyon and beyond. Importing weed from Mexico, lining up connections with the Colombians, and living for months in Jamaica to set up a 1/2 ton Ganja flight were some of my subsequent adventures. In recent years I have been a medical marijuana grower, a pollen chucker, and an Admin/Moderator for several online cannabis forums.

The Sinsemilla Taxi Service

Another secret to our Skunky success:

We used a “taxi service” back and forth to our garden area during our 2rd and 3rd years and never left a vehicle parked on any of our Jeep trail access roads.

Ranchers, even back then, along with forest service personnel, would get suspicious if the same vehicle was parked along a Jeep trail week after week. They were used to plenty of hippies invading the woods, canyons, and other remote areas for hiking, exploring, and especially swimming. If a canyon had year-round water and some sort of established trail access, you could bet some hippies would be living there for weeks at a time.

Planting weed crossed more than one stoned consciousness back then and some of these amateurs were a few cans short of a 6-pack and would plant right along a creek edge because in their mind it was soooooo far away. I guess that meant “safe” to them. Lots of mini-busts and painful mistakes ensued.

One memorable group of weed growers from Jerome had a nice hidden camp and garden in West Clear Creek. A few short years later this beautiful stream became one of the most famous swimming and exploring canyons, second only to Sycamore Canyon, in the entire Verde Valley region. This group of guys would sit in the Spirit Room bar or Paul & Jerry’s bar in Jerome and brag about their work. Haha, yes, you could get away being so cavalier back then in the late 70’s, but you still couldn’t safely or intelligently park a truck at the end of a Jeep trail week after week for the entire spring, summer, and fall. But they did.

Eyes soon found them. A local sheriff was alerted and researched the truck plates and lo and behold, they were registered in Jerome, the hippie capital of the Verde Valley and northern Arizona at the time. Forest service undercover guys watched the growers going in and out, went in after they had finished their weekly visit, and found their garden. Incredibly, the law enforcement agents let them continue their visits for the whole season. They waited until the unaware dudes brought their entire harvest back to Jerome, something close to 100 pounds, and busted them holding the bag(s). Why take the chance of a scuffle, shoot out, or escaped perpetrators while trying to bust them in a wilderness canyon when you know right where the suspects live?

The Sinsemilla Taxi service operated like this: our driver, of which there were two, and both were women, would come over to our house and we’d set off from there. When we drove through the nearest town to our drop point, we would lay down on the seat or crouch down on the floor so any locals would merely see a nice young lady driving through their town. Once off pavement and onto a rough dirt road, she would continue a few miles to where a 4×4 trail left the dirt road. At this exit point she would stop and we would quickly leave the car in a well-rehearsed move and be in deep brush before any other vehicle could show up at that bend in the road and discover us. After she continued on, we’d stealthily move up a brushy wash (arroyo) and join our usual Jeep trail far enough from the access road that no one could see us should they be driving by.

Hunting season required additional precision and awareness since hunters were frequently camped out for days on 4×4 trails like the one we used as our hiking trail. Once we made it to our steep rock wash that would take us down 1600 feet to the bottom of Madjag Canyon, we were in our element and knew that no one would get the best of us unless it was sheer luck on their part. We had escape routes planned anyway and could find our way back to the only pay phone within 20 square miles if it was an emergency evacuation and we needed a ride. 

Taxi anyone?