Dad’s quest to find the infamous Lost Dutchman’s mine in the Superstition Mountains, east of Phoenix, sent us rambling up and down rut-filled roads that were not on the map.
On one occasion, Barry and I accompanied him in our gray,1960s Volkswagen Beetle without our mom and baby brother Stephen, and I have no idea why. But I was excited to have the back to myself as I bounced on the white seats and held onto the white rubber handgrip dangling near the window, funny how I don’t remember seatbelts.
Dad turned off the highway to explore, but soon the road blended with the desert. He stopped driving and got out shielding his eyes, scanning the horizons for the main highway, but we were lost. We rode drove through the desert in our little Beetle for what seemed like hours, running over short, round cacti and rocks that scraped the undercarriage. At one point, we hit a gully and I bounced up, hitting my head hard on the metal ceiling and hollered,”Ow.” He slowed as much as he could and I held the rubber handle to keep from flying out of my seat.
The motor started rattling like those Chaparral Antique cars at Six Flags and Barry and I laughed. Dad just focused on driving. The sky turned burnt orange by the time the highway came into view and dark when we pulled into our driveway.
Reminiscing about the incident years later, he turned pale. “I thought we were going to die in the desert. I hadn’t prayed in a long time—but I did that day. When we made it to the highway and home, I knew God still loved me and I stopped searching for gold.”
I hadn’t realized the seriousness of the situation as a seven-year old, but I’m glad Divine Providence was in our favor that day.
2 Replies to “Lost in the Desert”
I really enjoyed this. I live only a short drive from the Superstitions and have spent countless hours hiking through them. As you made clear, the Arizona desert can be delightful or very harsh. Glad you made it out. I”m sure that arriving home felt uncommonly pleasant for your father that evening.
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Thank you. It’s awesome to hear from someone from the area. My dad was certainly relieved.