El Camino del Diablo

The western segment of El Camino del Diablo is an ancient trail from the Yuma crossing of the Colorado River to the oasis of Sonoita on the Sonora side of the Lukeville, Arizona, border crossing. It was part of the trade route to the Pacific coast used by the peoples of the Papagueria and their predecessors. The first european account of traveling the trail was written by Father Eusebio Kino, the Jesuit missionary, in 1699. The trail saw an episode of heavy travel during the California gold rush where as many as 400 people may have died from exhaustion, violence, and, particularly, of thirst. This is the driest desert in North America with very high daytime temperatures and very few reliable sources of water. The region is still empty of human settlement and modern immigrants are still succumbing to thirst on the Highway of the Devil.

I've traveled the Camino three times; in 1975, 1980, and 1983. It was always in March when U.C.Davis has a Spring break and most of my travel companions were connected with that university. March is one of the best times of the year in the Sonoran Desert as the temperatures are mild and the desert is often in full bloom. I have combined photos from two trips in this gallery.

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Travels in the Sonoran Desert by Don Martinich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.