Sunday, January 16, 2011
For Those Stuck in Bad Winter Weather
There was a time long ago when we were anticipating going fulltime when we still couldn’t leave the bonds of responsibility and household ties. Earlier, some friends we had met through Escapees were able to go about their fulltime travels well before us. They maintained an entertaining website featuring marvelous pictures of where they had been or where they currently happened to be. Nothing has ever made me feel as jealous as seeing them hiking and enjoying the desert southwest in the wide open spaces which I myself longed to be in. I must have been sitting in Bend’s cold and snow as I sat gazing at their colorful photos featuring rocks, cactus and vistas of 80 or 100 miles rolling off into the perfect blue sky distance as they stood atop mesas they had hiked, and it was just purely almost more than I could bear.
It’s not my intent in this post to give readers in bad weather climates more than they can bear. Despite my longing when I looked at my friends’ photos; knowing that there was a place out there where it was sunny and nice lifted my spirits to even think on it. I hope our day here can do the same for you.
To the east of us sits a barren set of mountains called the Gila. Actually, there are a string of rock mountains running all the way into Mexico from here, with different names. I don’t know what constitutes the end of one range and the beginning of another since they all meld together. On Saturday we took up some exploration of the eastern side of our mountains, which follow south from the tiny town of Wellton onto the bombing range. The range is passable to all if you have the free pass, four wheel drive, and call in to the Marine Air Force base first to make sure no bombing exercises are planned for the area you intend to be.
Out on these washboard sand roads we always intend to go further than in actuality we manage to do. We had wanted to see the “tanks”, those areas up in the mountains which hold springs and life-giving water. Ha; we made it about one third the way! Despite being off course and distracted, we happened upon an area that filled us with the curiosity of discovery. Here was cactus we had never seen before; here was a grove of saguaros (see previous blog); here was a type of rock unlike any we have noted in the area, filled with caves, and here were shrubs and small desert trees unknown to us.
It’s an empty space where the only sound reaching our ears was the wind. It’s wild and is achingly and starkly beautiful. So much as our friends did for us so long ago; I present here just a photo montage of our day. If you need to get away…do so at least through my pages.