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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Welcome Environment

~Wednesday, January 12, 2022~

Day 577 (Travel Day)

Wow, there’s more people here than I thought. Since our arrival last evening in the dark, it was only a guess as to how many people we were boondocking with in our sandy plot of land. This is a very popular place for rigs of all kinds…….travel trailers, 5th wheels, motor homes, schoolies (converted school buses), sprinter vans and truck campers. And we are grateful to the city of Los Angeles Water District for allowing us to continue using this space. It appears everyone is very good about leaving no trace, so let’s hope it continues so stay that way so we can all continue to enjoy it.

It got a bit chilly in the night (around the upper 40’s), so a few extra blankets came out of hiding for some added warmth. We were having a little issue with the propane heater (the sail switch needs replacing), and with no hookups, we just had to accept the 50 degree temps in the trailer overnight. The sleeping quarters were a bit cozier too since extending the slides was not an option with not being level. So tonight, it would have to be the full-size bed feel instead of the large king. Hmm….come to think of it, it’s even smaller than that when we add our furry friend into the mix.

I think 17 hours of sleep may have shifted my bout of exhaustion/congestion to invigoration, though I’m not 100% yet. Jeff insisted on driving the entire way to our campground in Apache Junction, AZ (270 miles), as if he hadn't driven enough. It will be so nice to be in a nice, warm, dry air climate to pull me out of this COVID state and allow the truck some much needed rest. Hank has been a total workhorse lately as we’ve put on nearly 3,000 miles the month of December. But the miles were worth it; being with family in California was THE best thing!! It’s hard to say goodbye until November. Hello Arizona.

Arrived to Lost Dutchman State Park at 5:00 p.m. The 320-acre park is located in the Sonoran Desert, 40 miles east of Phoenix in a town called Apache Junction. Surrounding our amazing campsite is the Superstition Wilderness and surrounding Tonto National Forest. Named after the fabled lost gold mine, this may very well be our favorite campground to date and appears to be the perfect place to rejuvenate.

Activities include visiting a local “ghost town”, ATV’ing and plenty of biking/hiking trails, with varied degrees of difficulty.

One trail in particular, Jeff learned about in great detail directly from a fellow camper. While he was filling up our water bottles at the dump station, 2 gentlemen, exhausted, (around our age) approached Jeff. Jeff had passed them a little earlier, curious as to why these 2 guys were out hiking that late, in the dark. They asked politely but wearily, “Is there any chance you could give us a ride to our car about a mile away?” With eagerness, Jeff responded, “Absolutely! If you don’t mind a little dog hair.” Once they were in the car, Jeff went on to explain how just recently we had been “rescued” by a fellow camper in Big Bend National Park, in the freezing cold as we took a wrong turn on our hike. Our rescuer, “angel” saved the day! We’ve always believed in “paying it forward”, while exercising caution, always trusting our instincts. And today was no exception. As they exited the car, one of them could barely move from how sore he was and they couldn’t express their gratitude enough. So appreciative!! Evidently, they took the Siphon Draw Trail which is one of the most difficult trails in the area. It’s about 4 miles round trip with a 1,000 foot elevation gain. They started in the morning where they thought they allowed enough time, but when they decided to add the Flatiron section to their agenda, which has an additional 1,000 foot elevation gain and 2 more miles, that’s when things went awry. Poor guys. Jeff said he honestly doesn’t know how they would have made it back to their car. Of course now we’re intrigued with this trail, hoping we’ll be able to check it out closer to the end of our stay here. But first, I need a few smaller hikes to build up my endurance. We shall see. Hopefully Jeff doesn’t have to go that one alone.😩

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