With Sue and Mo still visiting, I had a much more exciting day off yesterday than usual. I picked them up at 9:00 and we headed out to hike the Painted Desert Trail on the refuge.
It was a sunny day with temps in the upper 40’s when we started out. This trail is 1.3 miles in length and includes some ups and downs. The last time I did it, I needed a boost to get up one of the rustic steps along the way. It was just too tall for me. I guess it must have been fixed a little because I was slowly able to do the whole trail under my own power.
The early morning light helped bring out the shadows and beautiful colors of this trail. According to Sue, not much of anything has grown along this area for millions of years. I can tell you that it was a thrill to have my own soil scientist explaining all this rock stuff to me along the way. I can tell you about birds and such, but I don’t know squat about geology.
As I’ve driven across this country, I’ve often wished that Sue was in my passenger’s seat to educate me on the wonders of the different terrains I was seeing. For a brief time, my wish came true. Of course, before our paths crossed last year in Anahuac NWR, I expected her to be a rather bookish professor type person. Ha! Nothing could be further from the truth. I appreciate the joviality of her soul.
I took advantage of the couple of cement benches along the trail to sit and enjoy the views. Mo did the same before we headed down into the wash. Since washes occasionally have water, that’s where you’ll find the Palo Verde and Ironwood trees. It was an enjoyable hike, and we were shocked to see all the cars in the trail head parking lot when we finished. We had the whole trail to ourselves for this hike, and considered ourselves lucky.
Since Mo and Sue have a four wheel drive high clearance vehicle, they offered to make a short trip into Kofa NWR in the afternoon. We had hoped to do some kayaking, but the wind was blowing two sixty both days. We only had time to do a portion of the most southern road into the refuge, but it was a treat for me since it became obvious that I could never drive my little Ford Focus in there.
This road takes you close to Castle Dome. I also noticed that there were more saguaros here in this part of the desert. It must get more rain each year than Imperial.
We had packed a lunch to take along, and ended up just standing by the car to munch as a stream of jeeps made their way past us. Not bad scenery for a picnic!
Shortly after eating, we had to turn around as the road continued to deteriorate. Jeeps are definitely needed in this area. We were also running out of time as I had to get back to the rig to prepare for a hot dog cookout in honor of Sue and Mo’s visit. All the other volunteers came with a dish to share, and as usual there was more than enough to eat. We ate and chatted and laughed the evening away until the mosquitoes chased everyone back to their rigs. Is there a refuge in this country that isn’t plagued by mosquitoes? I don’t think so.
Oh, I almost forgot. Remember that road sign I showed you last month showing a tank crossing area? Well, on our way back from Kofa a tank actually went across in front of us, and today the air was filled with the sounds of machine guns and other ordinance exploding on the Yuma Proving Grounds. Such odd sounds to be hearing while living on a National Wildlife Refuge. One of those black stealth type jets came thundering overhead this evening also. First time that’s happened here. All that noise didn’t seem to bother the birds any. Guess I’m pretty safe here surrounded by our Army warriors.
I bid Sue and Mo a fond farewell this morning as they headed out for Joshua Tree and eventually home. I’m looking forward to seeing both of them again this summer when I’m in their home state of Oregon. Thanks for stopping by Sue and Mo! You helped lift my spirits.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy