About Apache Tracker

Apache Tracker is a resource about survival, being a Physical and Spiritual warrior, and oneness with nature or "the spirit that moves in all things." I named this site in honor of the Apache. The Apache was the ultimate, survivor, warrior, guerrilla fighter, and lived in tune with his surroundings, on a spiritual and physical level. However you will find many other topics of interest on this site. Tracking is a mind set and awareness that goes beyond the physical to all levels, including the spiritual.

"THUNDER" (wakiya)

"THUNDER" (wakiya)

About the Author

"Wakiya" (Thunder)

About the Author
Roger Thunderhands Gilbert is an accomplished writer, musician, and artist. In his lifetime, he has done many things. These would include aviation, the martial arts, and a life long study of spiritual and tribal ritual. In the martial arts, his study has included three disciplines, Aikido, Kung Fu San Soo, and Tai Chi. He also worked with the Special Forces in a training capacity. In the field of aviation, he obtained his private, commercial, and instrument ratings as a pilot, with multi-engine, and flight instructor qualifications. He learned tracking as a boy and has worked with the sheriff’s search and rescue in that capacity. His spiritual knowledge includes in-depth study, and personal experience, with many shamanistic and esoteric practices. He is a practitioner of Kriya yoga, Kundalini yoga, Tantrika, and Chinese inner alchemy. In addition, he received his certificate in acupressure and uses several modalities for healing. He considers himself an authority on the Biblical teachings of Yeshua or Jesus, but considers himself spiritual, not religious. And last but not least, he has done an exhaustive study and been an activist of North American Native tribes and ritual. His own roots are of M├ętis descent, and his spirituality is universal.


My early days in Arizona

I grew up in Arizona and when I was in my young manhood I did many things in this arid-zone. Most of my activity was outside and in the desert and surrounding mountains. The temperatures would sometimes sore to 115 degrees in the summer and the nights were cold. My exploration, and scouting of the local terrain around the Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Mesa area's was way before the urban sprawl. The west was barely settled in those days. I had a friend who would usually be with me, it was the buddy system in case we ever got hurt, the other could go for help. There are many mountains streams and gullies that we explored. We climbed to the very top of all the surrounding mountain ranges such as Camelback and South mountain, the Papagos, and others.
Camel back mountains

South mountains

We hiked the Apache trail and superstition mountains and dove from cliffs into the green and blue waters of Canyon Lake in the squaw peak range. We would sometimes carry a canteen but usually we could go all day with little water.
superstition mountains

Apache trail & Canyon lake

A lot of times we would go barefoot and the bottoms of our feet were like leather. Other times we would wear moccasins or your early sneaker, which was a lot different then the Nike's of today. The landscape and lay of the land were awe inspiring. There was every kind of plant life from the regional saguaro cactus, jumping cactus, prickly pear, and Mescal plant to wild blooming flowers and sage. We would track coyotes to the caves in the Papagos, look under rocks for lizards, and scorpions.
Papago mountain area

But we were always keeping an eye out for snakes of which we saw many. There were coral and rattlesnakes as well as Gila monsters. We would find many arrow heads and pieces of pottery from our ancestors and walk through the ruins of the Hohokam. There were many flying creatures like the Hawk, Crow and Vulture, and I enjoyed seeing a roadrunner dart across the landscape. In those days the canal system was criss-crossing the land for irrigation and often times we would catch craw fish and catfish with our hands. We would have a friend drive us out in his old pickup and drop us off miles outside of town by the Verde river, then we would take old car inner tubes and float for miles through the rapids until we were back in town.
Verde River (docile part)

Our family had an Indian pony named Cotton that I rode bareback without a saddle. Cotton always knew how to get home with or without us. Sometimes without us. In all that time I was never injured seriously, or bitten by a snake or scorpion. We were taught to respect the natural order of things. We always carried a knife and that was all. I think the only time that I got hurt was when I fell in a bed of jumping cactus. This was very painful and the thorns had to be pulled from my body with pliers. But like I say these incidents where rare. If you go to these areas today you will find overpopulation, urban sprawl, golf courses, and fancy hotels and resorts. People go hiking and have to take a whole variety of things with them that they don't really need. We were raised next to the land and became one with it. There was always a shade tree we could find or a stream we could wash in. If you wanted water you could cut off a piece of cactus and suck on it, or drink from a stream. Our exploration often would take us to northern parts of the state like Flagstaff and Prescott. This would usually happen when my Dad got a spur of the moment idea, and would throw us all in the car and take off. I look back on those times with fond memories. The world has gotten complicated, and crazy. Those were simple fun times that I cherish in my memory. They are a part of me, the tough as nails, warrior, desert rat part. Sometimes I draw on that part of me to survive the trials we must all go through. Nature has become foreign to many but the spirit of the land, the mountains and deserts have a power of their own. It has Spirits that can be our allies and guides. Just ask any Apache and he will tell you.


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  2. Thunder~
    How beautiful to reminisce through your childhood. I love the pony part ....brought back very fond memories of our childhood pony 'Dookie' (dew-key).. don't know where that name came from! Anyway....I look forward to this journey through your life. Keep your muses at heart and at hand...you have a lot of writing to do!

    Many Many Blessings~

  3. Lovely... I too lived in Arizona as a young one with my family. Tucson, quite an adventure. Though it was lovely in it's own way, I would secretly cry for the pines and streams of home.

  4. Awesome site THUNDER ! I live in Scottsdale and walk often near Papago park. The vibrations are still Great there. I am a Kriyaban yogi(32years) also, and we are having Warfield Moose , Sioux medicine man, to visit this evening. 6:30pm, 2102 N69th St. You and yours are welcome. Sat, 4/3/2010

    Andrew Richard

  5. Thanks for the comments. I live in San Diego now so it would be hard to join you, but I'm glad the vibes are still good there. I know urban sprawl is devouring us all. San Diego was a pristine area once also, but is now a megalopolis! It's just really sad the way things have gotten. Everything is polluted.

    Chante Ishta

  6. You are welcome anytime you visit AZ. Just knock on the door. The Botanical Gardens and Papago Park have kept a nice little slice of desert for us to enjoy. It swallows the sound of the city like magic. I am reminded by your links of my camping visit to the Chiricahua Mtns. Time travel seems possible when you see those sacred rocks, and the stars at night. The enlightened Ones have alchemy to "fix" things like pollution. We must do the inner work to bring those days to fruition. The Native sacred memory and respect is so valid, and so much needed now, for the young ones to make right choices. Do keep those memories alive! You inner vision will be felt by receptive Souls. This is the Great Spirits movie in space, and She knows what she is doing.



  7. Andrew send me an e-mail so I can contact you..thunderhands@thenativeamericantaoist.com

  8. I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading this. You have no idea how much of a visual window this opened up to me - I'm a youth of today's 21st century generation. Like you say, our world definitely is a whole lot more complicated and - literally, messed up.

    I really wish I could have lived the same childhood you did - filled with nature-centred adventures and freedom. No worries of pollution - poisoned water or fumes in the air, a much safer environment with little crime and intrusion... the peace and quiet with total absence of any cars or traffic... Man... I really wish I could have gone on those adventures.

    Sad to say, the only way I would probably be able to live like that these days is through video games (no joke!). Perhaps if I'm lucky I could maybe one day visit a relatively untouched area (where in the world isn't touched these days?) I love Native American culture, their ideas and beliefs - so thank you so much sir, for writing this amazing entry. Your memoirs of your bright past childhood lightened up my day, today.

  9. Thanks Ariane,

    There are places that are more pristine like Eugene Oregon or Klamath Falls. Make your own adventures while your young. Put on a backpack and grab your walking stick and hat and take off and be a traveler, don't get caught up in video games or the media. Sadly the world and planet have changed since my childhood. More people means more intrusion on nature with condos, concrete highways and pollution of all sorts including the noise. We really don't think about the freedoms and innocence and lack of clutter of yesteryear until someone like myself writes about it. Jack Kerouac wrote about it, Woodie Guthrie sang about it and our Native American elders talk about it. I'm glad I could brighten your day you certainly made mine better. Maybe somehow this madness will end. There is a part of me that wants to see it all come falling down like a house of cards, because people are a prisoner of the system. That being said, there is still plenty to see, so go see it! Write me anytime at railartist@cox.net your friend.
    Thunder (Wakiya)