fifth of Jim Beam within an inch of itsrnlife, wrapped ourselves in our sleepingrnbags, and fell asleep in the truck beds underrnthe winter constellation of Orion.rnIn the morning we both felt betterrnthan either of us deserved, and after arnGeorge Hayduke breakfast—bacon andrnfried sliced potatoes added to ranch-stylernbeans with a fiery salsa; French bread;rnespresso—drove back to Ajo to purchaserna topographic map of Abbey’s Graveyard,rna suitably large tract includingrnmany hundreds of square miles. Armedrnwith this map, plus Steve Prescott’s scribbledrnbut close instructions, we felt reasonablyrnconfident of locating Ed’s lastrnresting place. So confident, in fact, thatrnwe carried with us in the truck, in additionrnto ten gallons of water for health andrnemergency purposes, a 12-pack of OldrnMilwaukee (ten cans for us, two for Edrnwhen we finally reached him). Carriedrnwhere? Into the brown winter desertrntouched by the pale green of the saguaro,rnthe yellowish creosote bush, and underlainrnby the gray-pink surface hardpan:rnwide valleys many miles across sweepingrnbetween ragged parallel ranges of redrnvolcanic rock blackened with the darkrndesert varnish. Into the mild, early afternoon,rnunstirred by wind and warmed to arntemperature of 75 degrees by the low sunrnwhose light touched the landscape indirectly,rnas if the sky were a pane of smokedrnglass. Into the desert where nothing wasrnseen to move—no deer, coyote, or rabbit;rnno ravens or vultures even—with thernexception of an occasional phainopepla,rna crested black bird (the females arerngray) seven and a half inches in lengthrnwith a long tail, red eyes, and a short warble,rnflitting from one saguaro to the nextrnas if following the truck as we groundrnahead in first gear down into the washesrnand up the opposite banks, around tiretearingrnrocks, between clumps of bushesrnand trees reaching to rip the tow mirrorsrnfrom the doors. Very slowly, while werndrank a couple of lunch cylinders andrntossed the aluminum remains backwardsrnthrough the open windows into the ratflingrnbed behind. (The only odometerrnEd ever trusted in.)rnWe came at last to the jumping-offrnplace Steve had described and continuedrnon foot, carrying a couple of quartsrnof water and the two cans of Milwaukee’srnfinest for Ed in the daypacks. In life he’drnbeen here many times before; whenrnDoug Peacock suggested this desert passrnas an appropriate burial ground, Edrnagreed enthusiastically. He died in Tucsonrnaround dawn, and after dark the followingrnnight his carcass, packed in dryrnice and enclosed in his old sleeping bag,rnarrived by pickup truck with its four attendantsrn— Peacock, Steve Prescott, JackrnLoeffler, and Tom Carhvright, his fatherin-rnlaw—at this site. Indeed, a spectacularrnplace for interment: Trudging amongrnthe saguaros, dodging the rounded lavarnrock under foot, I was reminded of JimrnBridger who had said of the RockyrnMountain country that you could see foreverrnfrom this place —and of ErnestrnHemingway, who said of a friend’s fincarnthat if a man couldn’t write here, herncouldn’t write anv-where. As long as v.’ernstayed on top of the escarpment the goingrnwas prett)’ good, but when we beganrnto drop off it became treacherous. Thernfollowing morning, the bearers hadrntransported Ed some hundreds of yardsrnbefore climbing down and burying himrnin a grave dug six feet into the cliffside;rnafterward they collapsed the bank above,rnadding an extra overburden of 30 feet ofrnclay and gravel to keep the coyotes andrnundesirable human elements out, andrnraised a rude stone marker: EDWARDrnABBEY, 1927-1989, NO COMMENT.rnIn all this they were disturbed just tworntimes: once when a wildlife biologistrnhalted his truck in the vicinity, oncernwhen two Air Force jets overflew them atrnan altitude of a hundred feet, causingrnPeacock to yell, “Down!” and coverrnSteve’s body with his own. (Ed’s belovedrnmilitary-industrial complex dipping itsrnwings in a final farewell.)rnWe hiked and stumbled around,rnSheeley and I, for several hours, clutchingrnand waving Steve’s instructions untilrnthe paper became a tattered and wiltedrnrag, taking compass readings, looking forrnthe series of invaginations he’d describedrnand trying to imagine how four men carryingrna corpse would proceed in thisrnwilderness of rock and cacti, where theyrnwould dig—and found the gravesite, finally.rnOr thought we did, though thernstone and fetishes that marked it havernbeen removed, whether by the elementsrnor by Ed’s widow Clarke we neverrnlearned. In the end we couldn’t be absolutelyrnsure, though certainly we werernwithin 100 yards or less of the place.rn(There was nowhere else to dig in thatrnrocky, cactus-congested slope.) And allrnthe time we could hear up there—outrnthere —somewhere —Ed, cackling withrnlaughter. I thought of our last goodbye (Irndidn’t know it was the last, but he did)rnon Third South in Salt Lake City inrnNovember 1988, when he’d embracedrnme before getting back in the car, andrnwondered if this exercise here on therndesert had actually been necessary, if Irnhadn’t blurred the crispness of a FinalrnFarewell to the indefinition of a LongrnGoodbye. But what’s wrong with longrngoodbyes, really? I loved Ed Abbey, lovernhim more as time goes by, and I was gladrnto have made this visit; I believe Tomrnwas, too. Slowly, as twilight fell, wernworked our way to the truck and droppedrnthe backpacks in the bed, aware of therndouble clunk as the lunch cylindersrnstruck steel. We’d forgotten to leave behindrnour inconvenient tribute, but nornmatter. You don’t offer a friend warmrnbeer in the desert, anyway.rnIn camp again among the saguarosrnwith the full moon picking out Montezuma’srnHead from among the towersrnand turrets of the Ajo Range, we held arncelebration, devouring two outrageousrnsteaks from FlagstafFs best butcher shop.rnThen Tom brought his guitar from therntruck, and I uncorked a magnum ofrnCasarsa Cabernet. Seated by a fire ofrnsplit juniper logs burning in an oilchangernpan set on the gravelly ground,rnwe drank wine and smoked the dry cigarsrnwe had bought in Ajo while he playedrn”Nortefia” by Gomez-Crespo and thern”Concierto de Aranjuez” by JoaquinrnRoderigo, and the stars scrolled slowly inrna southwesterly direction across the darklyrnshining sky. At the close of his life Edrnhad looked forward to enjoying what hernheralded as the Wild Nineties. Instead,rnhe died. The 90’s didn’t turn out so wellrnanyhow.rn”You know, I think he went just inrntime,” I said.rnTom nodded above the guitar.rn”Before the clitocracy really got afterrnhim.”rn”And the immigration environmentalists.”rn”I have a feeling the entire movementrnis reevaluating him this minute. ThernBrady Bunch too, of course.”rnCitizen Ed. Though avoiding “syphilization”rnas the modern plague, he was arnpatriot. He cared about his countr,’, thernold American constitutional republic.rn”I’m not a hermit,” he once protested, indignantly.rnJust a desert rat was all. Fromrnthe ridge behind camp a barbaric yawpingrn—a noisy team efibrt—erupted suddenly.rn”An encore for the coyotes, por favor,”rnI asked Tom. So he played it.rn50/CHRONICLESrnrnrn