Sunday, March 25, 2012

Is there such a thing as “too much quiet?

At times in Quartzsite, I felt like my head would explode with all the sounds, the highway, the main street, campers everywhere. I yearned for silence and the wilderness. So before heading on northward to visit more people and fight more traffic and noise, I decided to go find some silence and wilderness.

Saw Doctor in Parker again about my knee acting up.  He assured me that I had not damaged it nor had I torn a ligament.  Just overuse.  Suggested I keep my walking stick with me when I hike around.  I told him I had bought a pair of crutches to keep in the van just in case it got bad enough again that I couldn’t walk.  Insurance you might say.

So decided to head out of Parker toward the Swansea mines and old ghost town.  Didn’t go far the first night, just pulled off by this neat hillside thinking it would be a fun place to explore. 


Noticed a lot of spent bullets on the ground.  Worried I might have pulled too far into the wash pulling my heavy trailer.  But got out and explored just a bit and then back to the van to make supper.  Then the shots began… someone target shooting.  Boy, I hope the walls of my van will stop a bullet.  By dark, the shooting had stopped and the silence began.  I took photos of the hillside wondering what geological activities had created this hill.


My first conclusion was, most the rocks are very boring.  Second, it was very very quiet here.  Be careful what you pray for.  Are there ANY creatures out here for me to listen to????  I dosed off straining my ears to hear something, anything???   Finally some birds?  Owls?  I don’t know what they were but I enjoyed their sounds… the only sounds I heard that night.

First thing I discovered in the morning that on closer inspection  the red peaks were not in front of the grey stuff, but underneath it.  Wow.  Look at it from this angle.


Went to inspect the shooting area.  Spent bullets and shotgun shells everywhere… and target material.  OK, Clay Pidgins are made to shoot, but why not recycle your old electronics and plastics, etc.? 


O.K. back to the natural wonders.  As I was about to walk away from all this depressing junk, I spotted what looked like a trail coming out from between the rocks.  You know I had to go check it out.


It’s a pass going up through the red materials/rocks?  What?


Finally I come to a brick/stone wall!  This was very exciting. The camera is aimed straight on and my head probably wouldn’t come up to that hole.  I have no doubt I could climb up it, but had not brought any water, or my SPOT gps signaler, or anything with me.   Besides going up is always easier than going down.  I might even need a rope to get back down from there.  Very interesting.  Now if I can get myself back down out of there before anyone begins target practicing again.

Headed on down Shea Road and found the camping area, a large canal that takes water to Tucson, move evidence of shooting activities, and finally signs of nature again.

Settled in for another night in the desert… very very alone and very very quiet.  And supper…

Wonderful sunset… nice evening sounds again.  Very peaceful.


As I dosed off, I was awakened by what sounded like donkey braying… or maybe burros? Interesting. I listened for them some more… and fell asleep watching the stars. Later in the night I was awakened by coyotes howling/yipping. O.K. that’s good… I like those sounds.

I woke feeling a little disoriented and concerned about the road and about pulling my trailer.  I have not had internet since I left Parker and have no really good maps with me.  It’s frustrating that I can’t check Google maps.  But I remember enough about the maps I have looked at for this route to be very concerned about pulling my trailer much farther.  About 4 miles out of Swansea, I found a place to pull off the road and dropped the trailer there.  As it was, I had gone over one hill too many I think and am concerned about getting back up that hill.


I drove on down to the townsite… all the way down there where it looks like dust in the air.  I’ll add captions to these a little later.



The open vertical shafts have been fitted with steel covers.  I think ALL of those open shafts should be covered like this.



The mine has been inactive since 1944.  I didn’t know that before visiting.




This is one of the five campsites… shelter, table, fire ring and bbq grill.  Nice.


Many of the walls were made of adobe.


Long nails were being used to reinforce concrete walls.  Interesting.


These timbers must have been 20’ long.


There are five campsites within the townsite and I thought I’d be spending the night at one, but I’m concerned about the trailer and feel uneasy.  The winds are very strong which always makes me nervous.  The BLM is suppose to be giving tours of the site on Tuesdays from 10am to 1pm through March.  That means day after tomorrow.  I plan to wait for them to come, although I will probably see everything by then.  This is not the best place to take a two-wheel drive… so there are places I won’t drive to.

I think I would only recommend this trip to people with 4x4 vehicles… as I feel frustrated that I can’t see everything here after making this trip.

The wind continued all afternoon and I was becoming increasingly uneasy about leaving my trailer four miles away unattended.  So, I drove back to the trailer and snuggled up close to it with the van.  Then a took a walk. Right around the corner from where I am parked is a great little campsite.  Wish I had discovered it sooner.  But it was a fun day prowling around the mines and the historical buildings. 

  Wonder what nature has in store for me tonight.  Hope it’s not just the wind.  There are burro piles (feces) all over the place.  Maybe they will grace my camp?

I might be allergic to Creosote bushes.  Allergies acting up.

Will it get better tomorrow?  And, yes, I think there can be too much silence… or at least you might have to ease into it.

(continued…Yes, there can be “too much quiet?)

Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.