A couple stretches go along the fence of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation border. As you can see, part of the trail is cow path, some of it grew from game trails and old logging roads, and some of it was cut by those who developed the system of trails. The volunteers did a stellar job.
A whole lot of mountain bikers, some hikers, horse riders, and one runner came along the trail while I was in camp. It was great to see so many active people enjoying the forest. Some came over to check out my camping spot and to get a closer look at M&M. I don’t generally have the opportunity to get a social fix while disperse camping. This was a very nice treat. Cows also regularly used this section of trail.
One evening I was sitting in a lowrider reading a book and having a glass of wine when a pronghorn came along the trail. It still surprises me whenever I see a pronghorn in a forest. I’m so programed to think of them as strictly prairie animals. I really appreciate little things like this. Another evening a coyote stopped to check out a rodent hole on the other side of the trail about 100 yards away. Meadow was up on the solar panel and Mesa was sitting up on the table both keeping their eyes on it. I’m trying to get in the habit, when outside, of having binoculars close by. This coyote was beautiful. With the binoculars I could see all her colors. It’s as if she was painted, especially her face. An absolutely beautiful creature. Reminded me of a calico cat but without the patchwork. Never saw such a colorful coyote.
The temps were nice and cool and most mornings and evenings I was wearing fleece. One morning around Independence Day I even had to light up the Wave catalytic heater for a bit. It rained most days, generally in the afternoon, with all too many thunderstorms. I was thinking of all the forest fires started by lightning. There were a number of lightning flashes within a mile and a few REAL close, the ones you feel are right over your head. My thoughts occasionally drifted to the fact that there is only one road out of here. It would not be a pleasant experience driving towards a forest fire. I couldn’t quite relax during the storms.
One thing I like about camping in a ponderosa forest is there’s generally not much underbrush and that makes for very comfortable trekking. A couple days a week I would grab a daypack and hike off through the trees for a couple hours. One day I tried it on my mountain bike. I don’t think I’ve tried this before. It was a worthwhile experience. Not easy, but not all that tough. Other days I hiked along old overgrown logging roads. The kind with trees growing up in the middle and so old one can barely, if at all, make out the transitional double-tracks.
The iPod nano is a stellar unit made by the gods at Apple. I have an older 2nd generation nano and last winter bought a current 6th generation device. It is less than half the size and holds twice as much data. I listen to podcasts while driving to a new place to camp and music if doing a task I really do not enjoy, like cleaning the blinds.
One day I detoured from a mtn. bike ride over to a campground where there was a host. I asked him where I could find a laundromat. He told me and somehow he started talking at me about the state of our government. I said I was more concerned about the forest service travel management program since it will directly affected my lifestyle.
He said, well you know why they are doing that don’t you?
Yeah, porker carts.
No, the Chinese. The Chinese are buying up our national forests and parks and selling the land to fund their projects.
I looked around at the trees, some campers, up at the sky and it all seemed as it should be. I was thinkin’ maybe I had biked through a cosmic gateway back on the trail and ended up in a parallel universe. Then I realized that nothis guy is a fruitcake. Maybe there is a new agency rounding up the nutters, putting them in RVs, depositing them out in primitive campgrounds and setting them up as hosts. Anyway, I found the laundromat.
A few days after coming across the new road, I was out biking and came across other old logging roads that are being plowed open. Yep, time to leave.
I recently read 8216;At Sea at Sixty’, a book by a couple in their sixties who enrolled for a Semester at Sea cruise (semesteratsea.com and the institute for shipboard education). The courses were held on a ship as it sails around the world. On board the 600’ ship were nearly 1,000 people (over 600 students) including some seniors taking the classes along with the undergraduates. The cruise takes 100 days and stops at various ports with time and guides for course related field trips and for playing the tourist. Sounds pretty cool. The seniors did a spoof skit towards the end of the trip and one of the participants was, ‘A classic little old lady in sneakers, frail at 89, stooped with osteoporosis, scares the hell out of everyone with every step she takes on a pitching ship.’ Her performance had everyone, ‘collaped in convulsive laughter.’ She apparently really hammed it up. That is so neat. Seems like a lady I would really enjoy talking with. Sounds like a fabulous program, but I would never recommend reading this particular book.
July sixty minutes sixty years2100 minutes
RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006