back to Bisbee V, my first flock of ducks,
cosmic catnip, RVwest, and hiking a gulch
cosmic catnip, RVwest, and hiking a gulch
One morning before I rolled out of CoR, I hiked up the mesa, using a game trail, which I much prefer, rather than the hiking trail, and then around the top rim. I stopped on the north side for a while to drink some juice and read a paperback. Nice and quiet.
I stocked up at the Silver City food co-op with enough dry staples to last most of the year. I wish quinoa did not become so popular. I swear it was only a year or year and a half ago when it was less than $2 a pound and now it’s close to $7. Guano. It’s my favorite grain; sure glad a pound goes so far.
I know, I know, not what you expect to see in my room-with-a-view photos. I took a spot at the Queen Mine RV Park in Bisbee for a week. It’s a small park with 25 sites, in the shape of a teardrop. Some sites are wedged in tight. Wi-fi reception varies depending where you are in the park. Some RVers live in the park for months. You can probably guess I listened to Pandora for the whole week. It’s an easy walk into Old Bisbee so it was fine for a week. Most mornings I went for an hour and a half walk through town climbing 1042 stairs (I don’t count the ones I go down). It was my favorite walking loop from when I lived there. But with close to 3000 stairs in Old Bisbee, there can be quite a variety of walks. Other mornings, I hiked up B hill and made a loop in the Mules up to the saddle above the Gulch and coming back into Tombstone Canyon down Wood or Moon canyon.
Lynn drove down from Tucson for a day and we walked around town, visited with friends in Finder’s Keepers, had lunch at Ana’s Seasonal Kitchen, and later, a glass of wine at the Copper Queen. It felt good to spend time with her again. I met Lynn when we both lived in Bisbee and we keep in touch.
Lynn sent me this photo of a popular restaurant in Tucson. I don’t know if you can make out the sign out front, but it says, ‘Elegant Dining Elsewhere.’ I love unexpected humorous stuff like that.
I also dropped into Jewelry Designs by Owen on Main St. most days to visit with my friend David. We managed to get in a hike one evening after he closed the store and went for a beer at the Brewery on another day. He sure puts in a lot of hours running the gallery and making jewelry. I would not have the energy. I have some of my silverwork there and I hope to send him some more pieces this summer. I’ve been collecting a lot of old metal the last few years, while out off-the-grid and I want to finally get back to my bench and make some jewelry from it. I want to focus on masculine chokers/medallions. Guys go into shops with their wives or girlfriends while they look at jewelry and there’s generally not much that the guy will be interested in, for himself. I’d like to put some items into that nook. We’ll see.
Ana’s Seasonal Kitchen (pronounced Ahnah’s [105 Main St.]) is a good place for breakfast and lunch. It’s at the base of Castle Rock and offers indoor and outside seating. The food is fresh, natural, and delicious. I ate there three times in the week I was in town.
You’ve seen the other car on one of my ‘Back to Bisbee’ pages but I think this lady’s latest car, the Owl car, is her best so far.
A guy did a stellar job with his truck. The painted bricks, shutters, vegetation, and around the door looks great. I kinda regret not getting an aluminum-sided trailer so I could have had a friend do something like this on it. Oh well, maybe in the future.
If you plan to visit Bisbee, try to be there the second Saturday of the month. That’s when the monthly gallery walk is held. Also try to get a feel for the whole town. There are 12 sections of Bisbee: Highland Park, Old Bisbee, Lowell, Saginaw, Bakerville, Warren, Galena, Briggs, South Bisbee, Tintown, Don Luis, and San Jose. Old Bisbee is just one part of town. Most out-of-towners think that’s all there is to the town but all those little townships were incorporated into the town of Bisbee.
One thing that surprised me was the Safeway now carries Dave’s Killer bread. No way would I have thought it would get to Bisbee. Unfortunately, my freezer was packed so I could only pick up two loaves. Guano.
If felt good to visit Bisbee again, but I’m sure glad I no longer live there. The population is currently 5,500, down a thousand from when I lived there. I would imagine people move away looking for decent employment.
I filled up some water buckets for the trip north at the RV park. You can see the yellowish color and sediment. I don’t know; maybe with the lead in the soil and whatever’s in the water, the locals might just be dying off.
I kept M&M in the Nash while in Bisbee. Their cage was set up so they spent a good deal of time out there. Got quite a few comments from the RVers on the window cage. A number of them travel with their cat or cats but none would consider drilling into a window frame to hang a cage. Anyway, when we pulled into the Burrow Mtns. after being cooped up for a week, I opened the door to let M&M out and they darted off and disappeared for a few hours. They both came back absolutely filthy from blissfully rolling in the powdered dirt. Guano.
I only stayed one night in the Burros instead of a week as I had intended to. It didn’t feel right; it’s not what I look for this time of year once I’m out to the parks. I drove up rt 180 towards Arizona. There are a number of forest roads off it for disperse camping, some of which I’ve used in the past, but I kept going. I stayed a night around Springerville. Then I decided to just make a long day of driving up rt 191 to Utah. I’ve driven through the Navajo reservation a couple times in the past on my way to the Hopi’s second mesa. There are road signs warning to look out for horses and there will be horses along the side of the highway, between the road and the fence. This time there were also goats along the road. Next time there will probably be sheep. This is always a stretch of road to be particularly alert. But it is SO bumpy, I can’t see one nodding off.
I planned to stop for a night at a campground I’ve been to before but it was packed. Might have been spring break. So I kept going. A 300-mile daymost assuredly not my kind of moving day. I was too tired to go looking for the 2009 spot so just went back to the bluff.
The Moth podcasts are becoming my second favorite after Wait, Wait. I listened to a few while driving to Utah. One story was from a man with a degenerative disease that led to blindness. Afterwards, he wanted to try some off-the-wall stuff. His story was about a rattlesnake roundup. Down in Sweetwater, Texas, there is an annual Rattlesnake Roundup every March for three days. They gather in a ton and a half of rattlesnakes. One year he went down there with his brother. Since he does not have his sight, he uses his sense of hearing better than I would imagine most of us do. While down there he started keeping track of things one probably would not want to hear at a rattlesnake rally. One was, ‘Oh, sh*t!’ Even if someone just dropped something, the expression is really not one anyone would want to hear in a room full of rattlesnakes. Another was, ‘Back up, back up, back up!’ Remember, this guy is blind. His favorite was, ‘Yeah, that’s how fast it can happen.’ The second day they went out on a hunt and he had more humorous thoughts on that experience. I’m not that adventurous. Even with sight, I would not want to go on a rattlesnake hunt.
Greg, someone from Los Alamos who came across this site, suggested three other podcasts and I listened to one of each on the first day of the drive north: Invisibilia, Serial, and Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. There’s some good stuff there.
So I’m back to hard-wall camping a few miles from the asphalt but not yet off-the-grid since there is cell phone reception here. Back to separating trash (burnables, buryables, and town trash [glass, plastic, & metal]). Back to solar bag showers and late afternoon walks with Mesa and Meadow. So bear with me on emails. I have more than enough to do on town runs so I just copy emails onto my Mac. I write a response to each while back at camp and send them out on the next town run when I can access the web. It can take six weeks to get a response.
For the spring equinox, I purchased my first flock of ducks through Heifer International. The running tally is now: five goats, two flocks of chicks, one flock of geese, and one flock of ducks. Next goat on the summer solstice.
I had another pleasant surprise. A writer from Koocanusa Publications (RVwest is one of their magazines) called me. We had a nice talk and Marie wrote an article out of it. She emailed me that the story was becoming a favorite with all the hikers and nature lovers at her office. I love hearing stuff like that.
Check out this out, ‘The Spaces Between the Places.’
Ric and Linda traded in their Flagstaff Micro Lite for a new 24’ Nash. They recently picked it up at Lowry’s RV in Silver. This shot was taken at CoR. Now they are slowly meandering up to Alaska again while brewing batches of craft beer and stopping for overnight backpacking trips along the way. Not your typical RVers.
Some evenings after Mesa comes in for the night and has something to eat, he wants to go back outside. But it’s getting dark so it’s a no-go. He starts whinning and making various disgruntaled sounds. A little Cosmic Catnip (potent [@ Pet Smart]) quiets him down. Doesn’t settle him down but at least he’s no longer so verbal.
I see ads from time to time on RV ralleys and classes that are being offered. There is frequently a class for those new to RVing. It would be smart for those just starting out to take such a class; why reinvent the wheel? I wonder if wives have trouble getting their husbands to take such a class. What’s with guys having to know everything and not asking for help? Do they really have such a weak self-image?
I’d like an opportunity to meet up with a few RVers who are interested in learning about hard-wall camping and 3-week stints off-the-grid. And maybe ideas on how to work towards a more physically active lifestyle. Remember the ‘stairwell saga’ (July 2011 page);? I have experience building from scratch.
Susan’s Photos with Captions
The other day, I searched a map and found this long gulch coming down from the mountains, leading to the river.
Of course, there are many of these dry gulches, where after a good rain, water will flow. When a cloudburst is overhead, it’s too exciting to be in that gulch. But that would come, if it happened at all, in the summer, during thunderstorm season. On the day I took this hike it was sunny, cold, and quiet, a late winter day. Not even snakes were a threat.
The rough trail gained elevation rapidly, and after about a mile and a half I stopped to sit on a rock. The photo below is looking south, back the way I had come. This mountain range will still have snow in July. On this day there were patches of snow down on my level, about 8,000 feet, and I rested comfortably in a spot of sunlight while munching on a Kind bar. I love hiking this time of year, after the trails are mostly dry. And with snow still available, I do not have to carry so much water.
After about another mile, I came to an impasse, a white cliff, which you can see in the photo below. The perspective doesn’t show the steepness on either side, but even on foot it would be difficult to traverse around the cliff, and on horseback it would be completely foolish. It’s a classic box canyon.
Back in the mining days some men built the structure that you can see on the right in the picture. It’s a ramp made of timber, rocks, and dirt, to accommodate a trail which leads to the top of the cliff. I’m often amazed at the work those old miners did. A trail to the top of the cliff was obviously important. This gulch continues another 14 miles up into the mountains, and there were many diggings along it back in the day. There were men going in on foot or on horseback, leading a pack animal, feverishly imagining the moment a thick yellow vein yields to the strike of a pick. Such visions drove them on and drove some of them to become prospector/hermits, with a burro and a gold pan but no other skills, no home or family, and very poor and skinny. Others probably did find a strike and either got rich or did pretty well. It must be so, otherwise there would not be so much evidence of their searches and their workings. I even picked up this bit of ore. That blue/green color is often found in rocks along with gold and silver, or copper.
The gulch had been forested with ponderosas, but they were used for this ramp project which must have taken many months to complete. Now there are just these graceful cottonwoods, and some pinon and juniper, but no ponderosas in the immediate area. I did not know at first that the trail had been built up like this, because I had simply walked along it as it hugged the canyon wall. It didn’t really seem unnatural. There was snow in places, and I watched my footing, but over the past 100 years or so the vegetation had become completely naturalized again, and what you see in this photo is not at all visible from the trail. The trail simply rose, and then ended near the top of the cliff.
There I could go no further, since a gap had eroded out between the trail and the top of the cliff. It was then I looked about carefully and took note of a few sawed-off log ends, and realized I was on some kind of man-made structure. It would have been dangerous to try to get across the gap to the top of the cliff, so I turned around, and walked back down the long ramp, and reached the canyon floor again. I then made my way back up again along the canyon floor, towards the base of the white cliff, to examine this ramp from below. The very beginning of it is a tightly-constructed angular rock embankment that as I went along became quite massive, with bigger stones, and then gave way to these logs to hold back a tremendous amount of fill, making a rise of 25 feet or so, wide enough for a man leading a burro or even a rider with a string of pack animals. From here I could finally see this giant ramp, and could see how precarious it was to be up there. So I probably won't tell many people about this place, as it is an accident waiting to happen. It was just too easy to walk along, end up near the top of the white cliff, and not even know I was on a structure. And it looks pretty unstable to me. How about you?
There at the foot of the cliffs I took a few pictures, and then looked around, taking note of the area in close proximity. I was in a grotto, a place of mosses, ferns, and vines, with a deep undercut, or cave, in the cliff, a cave that would be hidden behind a waterfall, once in great while. There were birds about, big bold jays and little wrens or finches, telling of springtime. In summer the grotto will be a green invitation, a coyote will drink from a clear pool after a rainstorm. Before that storm, the cottonwoods will sway and rattle in the breezes, and ravens, ever observant, will discuss and make comments, as storm clouds gather and thunder rumbles.
March sixty minutes sixty years1900 minutes
March Triple 18pecs/delts: 3035; core: 1800; legs: 5115
If that be so, he sure made some dumb calls.
RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006