Never did I anticipate that Spike and Bridget would adapt so well to living in the desert.
We hike way down the dirt road, up a rocky embankment, across a wash, up another rocky slope, until we reach a ridge which we follow for quite a bit.
All along the way there are potential wounds to their pads: sharp rocks, cholla needles, broken glass, rusty cans, and prickly plants with menacing thorns. The crew traverses the terrain like seasoned explorers, carefully placing their paws with every step.
The Sonoran Desert is fascinating.
I discover new plants every day, some with tiny buds or flowers. The changing light transforms all it touches.
I let the crew decide where we will go. Spike stops us periodically and does a nose test. Bridget and I wait patiently as he turns his head, holds it steady, wiggles his nose, turns his head another direction and repeats the routine. Once he makes his decision, we go where he leads. Sometimes he lets Bridget be the leader, usually on the way home.
I do keep them both on leash which they actually like.
I detect an air of importance in both of them as soon as we set out on a leash-hike. I like to hike in the late afternoon. When we return, the crew takes a long drink and eats supper. Sometimes Rick comes by with Lady and gives Bridget and Spike a chicken jerky treat.
I put the new chairs in the PTV for the night. That signals the crew to come inside and crash on the bed.
They’re sleeping by my side as I type this. I can hear their breathing so I know their sleep is deep and trouble-free. Sometimes Spike whimpers in his sleep, but never when he’s sleeping like this. They’re both “plum wore out” in a good way.
Today I receive inspiration.
The nights are extremely windy lately. Boy, the palo verde behind the BLT was howling like a banshee around 2 a.m.! This morning I find a long piece of gnarled wood with sufficient weight to keep one end of the patio mat in place. As I sit looking at its interesting shape, inspiration comes!
I’ll make my little triangular patch of a campsite into a desert garden!
It’s littered with sticks, brush, and broken glass. Yet I see the “bones” of a beautiful garden. The ironwood tree has a graceful, bonsai look. The ocotillo is a brilliant green and will change to orange and later sprout blooms. The tall, stately saguaro provides an anchor to the design. Creosote bushes and another bush I haven’t identified yet soften the landscape. I get excited and grab my rake. The clean-up begins! Soon rocks and pebbles outline a path. I rake away a pile of brush, exposing tender green plants that will flower in spring. What fun!
I go up to Rick’s and excitedly tell him my plan.
He laughs, of course. We talk for quite a while, leaning against his Jeep. As the crew and I start down the hill to return to our campsite, he calls after us, “You’d better get busy. You got about six hundred thousand acres of desert to redesign!”
Hmpfh! You scoff now, but you’ll see!
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