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.

Use An Auto Muffler and more…

from :

the International Cannagraphic Magazine cannabis forum

             – a member’s question:

anyone have a problem with loud exhaust, any ideas on how to muffle the sound or should i just build a wooden baffle?

My response:

For 5 years we used a 5 HP Briggs & Stratton trash pump for a vertical rise of 40 feet. It was quite noisy so we adapted a small import car muffler to silence it. It made moving the pump (we hid it every time after using it to water our plants once a week) a bit more difficult, however the sound was localized. It pumped approximately 12,000 gallons per hour through a 2” fire hose. We ran it for 2-3 hours once a week and flood irrigated our alluvial grow flat that was divided into 15-20 individual “paddies”.

We hiked 100 yards downstream and could barely hear the motor once we added the small car muffler. When we climbed up the canyon side, perhaps 800 of the total 1600 feet of steep canyon slope, we could still hear it, but could not localize it with our hearing. It was just a low drone coming from below in the canyon. And once we reached the actual canyon rim the sound came and went like a distant drone sound and was even more difficult to pinpoint where it was coming from even though we were directly above on the canyon’s rocky edge.

I highly recommend doing as much testing in this way as possible. It helps prevent mistakes in the long run.

Techniques we consider critical to success as an outdoor guerrilla grower:

– Paint all shiny hose connections or fittings with flat brown, tan, or green spray paint depending upon your grow site’s specific native plant setting. We sat on the rim of our canyon several times in order to see what our grow site looked like at different times of day, with different angles of sunlight. Did anything reflect light? Yes, the hose connections and shiny fittings, so we painted them.

– Did the flood irrigation reflect light? Yes, so we only fired up the pump at sunset so that water ponding across our alluvial flat did not shine like a mirror. In the late afternoon one of us watered as a test and another sat on the rim 1600 feet above. Without even looking specifically at the area we were using in the canyon bottom the reflection caught the eye. When you looked down in puzzlement you could see reflections similar to a pond or lake’s reflection from afar. Definitely not cool…

– Could you hear the pump from the canyon rim? Yes, so we added the car muffler. Could you tell where the low echo of a motor was coming from? Possibly, though not easily and certainly not with accuracy in respect to what part of the canyon the sound originated from. So we waited until sunset for any water application to minimize the likelihood that anyone, be it a rancher, cowboy, hunter, or hiker, could be along the canyon’s edge. If they were there at night, all they would hear was an occasional droning motor sound in the distance. Air movement through the canyon made the sound come and go over 2-5 second intervals.

– Did the growing area reflect or glimmer in any way at all the day after the flood irrigation? Yes, quite obviously and very out of place in the dry months like May and June (before the summer rains in July and August). The mud reflected like a mirror from the right angle. To compensate we kept a large stash of dried leaves from the trees and shrubs nearby and spread them across the flat after watering, all by the light of the small, plastic flashlights that we held in our mouths when we needed to use both hands. The nice LED headlamps that are available today were not yet invented back in the 1970’s. Some headlamps, like the one I own now, even have a red flip-down lense in addition to the typical clear lense. This extra lense protects human eyes from night blindness and offer an all-around lower light profile. I really could have used such a low-level light back then. From a distance it probably would have been imperceptible. Even our simple flashlights passed our night distance tests when we once again looked at the grow site from 1,600 feet above on the canyon rim in the dark of night. Only a small firefly amount every so often. In 6 years no one saw it as far as we know.

– Were footprints in sand or soil easy to see along the creek edge and long-lasting? Yes, so we never left footprints anywhere along the creek in muddy or sandy spots on our hike in or out which took about 1 ½ hours one-way. In 5 years we saw other footprints only twice; once from a hiker that hiked all the way through the canyon and out (we followed the prints to confirm) and the second time from a helicopter that landed (for who knows what reason) in the only flat in that part of the canyon that was big enough to safely land in. We followed the boot prints back to the flat where we found two helicopter skid imprints in the dirt. We thought maybe we were stretching our explanation a bit too much – a helicopter? No way, but what about those long imprints in the dirt? Closer examination on our knees revealed tiny silver metallic scrapes on the rocks that were imbedded in the dirt there, confirming that we weren’t hallucinating after all. A lot of raptor studies were taking place along riparian zones so it sort of made sense. Also the National Forest wilderness boundaries were being re-assessed and just a few years later were expanded and stretched into our canyon, including our grow area.

It’s tempting to deny a set of clues rather than to clearly prove your hypothesis by finding actual, indisputable evidence. It’s also easier to act like my friend who was growing in a nearby canyon and totally refuted the likelihood of a person on the rim seeing him hiking below in the canyon bottom, in his bright straw hat and white t-shirt! His reasoning was that if he couldn’t see someone on the rim from his canyon bottom viewpoint, the same held true for them in reverse. If he had tested his theory (we did) he would have laughed (like we did) at the bright, white object moving around through the bushes in the canyon depths. He watered in the day as well.

So sad….