Thursday, August 6, 2015

down and dirty in the sagebrush,
skip it, up another 900’,
germs, and charades





There are vast stretches of space in between the well-known places to visit. Ever been driving through sagebrush country? The landscape can appear to have a more or less monochrome uniformity, broken occasionally by outcroppings of bare rock (or juniper). To many, this lack of notable landmarks denotes an absence of anything worth seeing—just a place to drive past on the way to somewhere interesting. Others might not see it that way.


Hard-wallers have found that many of Nature’s little treasures are only accessible on foot.


When I’m out hiking, my vision is scanning the distance, but I can also miss much. So I balance it on walks with Meadow & Mesa. When M&M and I are outwalkin’, it’s slow, and I try to keep my eyes focused in close. I watch M&M and see how they investigate what is down near them as they walk along. I would imagine walking with a kitten or puppy would enhance seeing the world with different eyes/perspective even more. There is so much beauty on a much smaller scale. Almost wish I could smoke dope; I’m sure I would appreciate the simple beauty even more. Not only on a smaller scale, but at times, gettin’ down low enhances the experience. The trunks and branches of sagebrush can appear as wizened and textured as an old gnarled oak, and as artistically formed as bonsai. And do try to walk through sagebrush after a rain to take in the scent of damp sage. A simple life is about simple pleasures.


Even a common, narrow cow path looks pretty cool from down low.


Some areas are full of rabbit warrens and sometimes one sees an entry somewhat different from the rest. Granted, unintentional.


Occasionally, not often, I come across someone’s isolated camping spot while I’m biking along an old spur. If someone is in such a spot, I figure they are looking for solitude and quiet (or they have a meth lab in the trailer). If I don’t see anyone, I continue to ride by or turn around. If I see someone, I might call out hello or wave as I ride by. If they respond in a friendly way or ask a question, I stop. I’m thinking they might want to talk. If not, I’ll pick up on it and get back to riding. Anyhow, this is my take on it.

Feel free to skip this section; it’s merely about a neighbor who has no concept of living green. A couple days after setting up my first camping spot on the Kaibab, I realized I had a neighbor about ¾ mile away. Not necessarily a bad thing. Kind of expected since I wasn’t as far in off the asphalt as I usually am this time of year.
Most evenings, after I’m done with the day and have taken M&M for a walk, I go in, do a partial washcloth wipe-down for that clean feel at the end of a day, change into lounging clothes, sit down in my favorite spot with a view out three windows, stretch my legs out, take a deep breath, and smile. I settle down with something to read, a large mug of tea, and a glass of wine—I’m in my don’t-bother-me mindset. If it’s been hot, like its been, the door is open, all the blinds are up, all windows and roof vents are fully open, and two LEDs are on. Life is good.
One evening, I hear an ATV coming along the dead-end spur towards my camping spot. Guano. This guy pulls off the spur, drives up to the Nash, and sits there idling. Ditto guano. First off, proper etiquette to coming up to an isolated camping spot is to (probably not do it) do it mid-morning, and most assuredly, call out while still a distance away. Common courtesy. When I go out, he gets off his ATV and says, howdy neighbor (he could have called this out from 25 yards away to give me a heads-up to who he was). So already, I’m not likin’ this guy.
We talked for probably 40 minutes. He and his wife live in Page and for the past few summers, they leave their fifth wheel up here. Okay, here’s the first living green aspect. He drives his pickup back to Page once or twice a week to do chores and pick up supplies. Often the wife drives her own vehicle to come up to the fifth wheel. What a waste of gas. When they are both here, they use 12 gallons of water a day (I use two); they shower every day. What kind of crud does one eat to stink that bad? It’s not as if they are off sweating from hiking; they carry pounds and pounds of excess fat.
The only well on this part of the Kaibab plateau is at a private RV park in Jacob Lake; all other water is trucked up and stored. This guy drives to Jacob Lake everyday and fills up two 6-gallon water containers outside the restaurant. There is a sign above the spigot stating, be conservative since all water needs to be trucked up. He thinks nothing of this. This guy could easily truck his water up from his house in Page; it’s not as if he is concerned with the price of gas or gas mileage. I truck my water up from Kanab.
Okay, so far, camp etiquette, gas, and water—now it gets gross.
This guy runs his gray water off with a hose. The water will seep into the ground but all the crud remains on the surface. He dumps his black water down a rotted stump. This goes on day after day for the whole summer. Flies are a nuisance here. I cannot imagine how bad they are around his rig. The flies walk on and digest filth, then walk on their skin and hair, gross. But basically, this is just wrong. These kinds of people disgust me. Or had you already picked up on that?
No solar panels, runs a bargain generator for TV and A/C but at least it’s so far away that there’s not a noise issue. Definitely not my kind of people. What’s truly unfortunate, they bred and were role models. It wasn’t long before I moved to another spot.


I came across this spot while out mtn. biking. It’s up another 900’ at 7,900’. For summer @ only 35° north, another few hundred feet would be better for those who don’t use A/C. Access to the Arizona Trail is farther away so I ride my old, gray Gary Fischer mtn. bike along the forest roads for 2 or 3 miles, stash the bike in the brush, and start my run. Biking in different directions gives me access to four different sections of the AT. Lately I’ve been riding out an hour or so, turn up one spur or another that the AT crosses, and ride back towards camp on the AT. This is a good area to be active.


I wonder if the photographer was shooting the soap bubble in movie mode then cropped a frame.

This lady’s husband was grousing about needing more space. She locked him outside.

I’ve seen plenty of Kaibab squirrels but have not yet been able to get a photo of one. When I see one, I take the Canon PowerShot out of my pocket, turn it one, and by that time I can’t get a good photo of the squirrel. It’s either the dark torso and funky ears or the white tail. So I keep the camera turned on for a while hoping for a shot. I don’t know how many times I’ve done this. So far, I’ve found Kaibab squirrels to be an excellent way to run down a camera’s battery. Guano.

On 4th of July weekend, no one came along the dead-end spur I’m camping off of and only one ATV went by on the spur leading to mine. Not bad.


You know how germs can often remain on a surface for hours? On a run to town, one handles a gas pump, shopping cart, packages, doors handles, change, and whatnot. Wouldn’t it seem a basic practice, upon returning to camp, to first thoroughly wash one’s hands?


I came across a joke.
The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades.

Yes, it’s worth a chuckle, but, good grief, THAT would be REALLY scary.


While out mtn. biking one morning, I came across a view of Marble Canyon off in the distance. The Colorado runs through it just before it enters Grand Canyon National Park.

July sixty minutes sixty years—2025 minutes
July Triple 18—pecs/delts:4320; core: 2220; legs: 5740

When you're finished changing, you're finished.
Benjamin Franklin


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

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