Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Back Home Again... in the DESERT (May 2017)

Joshua Trees at Sunrise
After four months living in sticks and bricks helping a friend and a small medical scare that turned out to be a little benign tumor in my airway, I am back home again where I belong.  I am a very happy camper.  (turns out that thing was what was making me cough all the time)  Doctors have advised me to keep away from campfires and forest fires so I will not be allowed to return to campground hosting work.  And I will not be able to grind and polish anymore rocks without a professional respirator/filter.  SOOOO... sometimes our lives take a surprising turn, but it's all good.

Caught up with van dweller/now sticks and Bricks dweller, Bryce.  He has a great little place north of town... and has tamed it... note green grass and his rose bushes.

We walked downhill into this Wheeler Canyon... then along the canyon past a slot, then back up another road to a ridge and along the ridge returning to the car. It was a long hike, 3 hrs??? Loved it. Bryce is great company and a good hiking buddy.

Bryce heading down Wheeler Canyon
Sometimes nature is a little gross.  A rabbit head.
Then, on the other hand, nature gives you this wild beauty.
Look, a slot canyon.
There is this BFR (Archaeology speak for "Big F_ _ _ ing Rock")
wedged in the slot.  Neat.
Bryce inside the slot canyon.
Looking straight up from inside the slot.
Looking straight down on Google Earth.
I came, I saw, I conquered. Well it almost conquered me, but after a one-hour nap, I bounced back.

People sometimes bury ashes in the desert and leave memorials.  A little farther on we found a recent one for some one's dog.  In the slot canyon there were a couple more up inside a hole in the wall of the slot.
I love horses and wild horses especially.  Found traces, this dung was fresh, but no horses.  Oh, I would so love to have them visit my camp.

In spite of the wind, wind almost blew my heavy suitcase solar panels away, I was able to cook my supper in the solar oven once. Gosh I love the solar oven. I am so happy to be back in the wilderness, and even happier that Bryce showed me some other spots farther up the mountain where I could camp. There was even fresh wild horse dung up there... so I may move up there for a couple nights in hopes of seeing them. I'll be spending more time here in the future.

Horse tracks and dung everywhere, but no horses.  One camper told me he had not seen any in three weeks.  As it gets hotter and dryer, they go higher in the mountains where there is more water.  Here is one I saw a few years ago when I camped here, pre-RTR days.
Wild horse near Pahrump, 2010.
Awesome flowers everywhere.  Some folk see the desert as boring and dab and brown.  You have to get out and walk around to find these colorful little treasures.

I am always intrigued to find mushrooms in the desert.
My grandmother had Pussy-Willow bushes in her yard.  These blooming Creosote bushes remind me of Pussy-Willows.  In the background off the the left you can see my white rig.
I love camping among the Joshua Trees.
 Sometimes the most amazing things are very small.  You have to get out there and walk about slowly to see them.

Thanks for hiking with me, Bryce.
I do so love being back in the desert wilderness.  I can never live in a city again.
So, now I am making final preparations for hiking the Arizona Trail, trying to work out all the logistics, where to store the trailer, where to leave the van, if I will leave it at various points along the way, so that it's not far away should plans change, or whatever.  Lots of details.  Still need some gear... i.e. trekking poles, a better side-opening tent, better rain gear, and a few other things.  Just this week there was a large fire in Passage 5 area... closing 45,000 acres, and closing the trail.  So, all that needs to be taken into consideration as well.  But being unable to go to the camphosting job I had accepted for this season, gives me time to do all this planning and get it all worked out, and to train.  This is going to happen.

If you have offered to help be ground support and are available this fall for that, please email me and tell me what areas you can assist with.  (Stalkers need not apply. LOL)

Who is Swankie?

My photo
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.