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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

A Curious Creature

~Friday, January 21, 2022~

Day 586

As I write this morning from our campsite, I’m looking up at these amazing mountains that seem to appear out of nowhere while watching many of our fellow campers depart. I’m always curious where their next adventure will take them……..another warm location, off to see family/friends, or home maybe. There’s something very cool about being at a campground, in a community where we all have so much in common. In a way it feels like family. There is a young family that just arrived in the sight behind us with their adorable 1-year old daughter. Always so nice to see little one’s already experiencing the great outdoors. Their accommodation is a tiny teardrop trailer with a canvas room extension off the side, which actually doubles their space. Very cool!

This has been the perfect place to reset and completely heal, especially after SO much driving lately. I can’t tell you how nice it is to just stay in one place for a while. Being in this desert, at least at this campground, is one of those places where you don’t feel like you need to sightsee because just being at your campsite is enough. You really don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. It’s a clear, calm morning. Not a bit of wind, but chilly. As we began heating up the trailer, the propane tank decided to run out. One of our key signals when a tank runs out, is a blinking blue light on our refrigerator. If the heater is running on fumes, like this morning, there is a safety valve that shuts things off safely. We’re down to 1 of the 3 tanks, so will likely fill up in Tucson.

On our walk with the pups, we met a couple with binoculars in hand, looking up towards the Flat Iron peak. They spotted a few hikers descending this early evening. But they were curious about the trail and asked if we had done it. Of course we gave them a prideful, “Yes”! They’re originally from San Jose, CA (small world) and decided to get out of California before everyone else did (20 years ago), and have never looked back. Aside from the brutal summers, they love Arizona. They just came on a whim for a weekend getaway and were able to get a site due to a cancellation. This 134-site campground is so popular, if you’re going to stay for a large chunk of time as we have, you need to book a year in advance. Anyway, it looks like they’re going to try the Siphon Draw portion of the hike tomorrow and forgo heading further up the mountain to Flat Iron.

After we returned to our campsite, it was photo time

with another spectacular desert sunset. While I was soaking in the brilliancy of the colors, I was startled by a scream from the nearby campsite. There are 3 women staying just across from us and I guess one of them got startled while packing up trash. Just above her head, a baby owl sat perched inside a burrowed-out hole in a Saguaro Cactus.

One of the girls saw me pass by and asked if I wanted to see it. Thankfully, I had my camera and got a pretty good shot of it. On occasion it would turn its head, ever curious about what we were doing below. And then, it suddenly took off for possibly a light meal? Wow, you certainly don’t get to see that everyday. But these lovely young ladies (mid 30’s I’d say) and I struck a conversation about hiking the Siphon Draw Trail. One of them had done it before where it took her the same 8 hours. But the other 2 were thinking about trying it for the first time, during their stay here. Hopefully their tennis shoes will suffice 😳, though I can’ t imagine doing it without proper ankle support. Personally I would not attempt it without some type of trail runner shoe or hiking boot. Before you knew it, I’d learned their whole life story. The one who had done the trail before, lives just minutes from Apache Junction but is originally from Missouri. Her other 2 friends flew out from her old hometown for a girl’s weekend. Evidently her husband drove their travel trailer to the campsite, set everything up and is taking care of their 4 kids for the weekend so she could have her girl time. Wow, I’d say she scored!! The first night at their campsite, enjoying the party a little too much, they mistakenly forgot to open the valve for their propane tank, thus no heat. I asked if she told her husband about that flub up to which her reply was, “Are you kidding? And show any sign of weakness?” Hilarious!

Time for our first campfire at Lost Dutchman. We’d bought our $7.00 bundle a few days ago, but didn’t seem to find the right time, until tonight. The Juniper and Cedar smell is heaven! Since Jeff had a late lunch, we opted for a catch-is-catch-can dinner……me, potstickers and fried rice and Jeff, 2 bowls of Raisin Bran. Whatever floats your boat.

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