Walking the road in the morning light with Bridget and Spike, I decide to call this camp “Ash Fork Fields.”
I look for flowers and find none. Unlike previous camps, the rocks here are uninteresting, dark and dull. Soft, gray-brown soil lies exposed in large patches in the fields of grass. Some sections of the road are reddish and tire tracks reveal the clay composition.
As is my custom when walking with the crew, I look for signs of animal life.
Burrows and underground tunnels of nocturnal animals are plentiful. So are animal tracks. The crew and I come upon several tracks across the road. The tracks reveal the pointed “toes” of cloven hooves, narrower than those of cattle.
Before long I see on a distant slope a small herd of seven or eight deer, running across the field of grass. Since the only reference for size are the scattered juniper trees which look the same whether short or tall, I can’t determine the size of the animals. Could they possibly be elk? Watching them bound across the grass is a pleasant sight. Probably not so pleasant for them if they’re running for their lives.
The crew and I come to a cluster of junipers where there’s a small corral.
The grass changes from long and dry to short sprigs of green. I notice a few signs of horses and cattle. Continuing on past the corral, the road merges into another dirt road which cuts through the terrain in a perfectly straight line. I see a sign: “Warning: Gas Pipeline.” It looks like an uninspiring walk.
“C’mon, guys. Let’s go back. We’ve gone far enough.”
I’ve seen deep, doglike tracks in several places while walking on this road.
Maybe someone was out here on a hike with their dog. Or maybe it’s a coyote . . . or a mountain lion! No, that’s silly. Mountain lions don’t trot along out in the open on a road. These are tracks in a trot.
Before long the mystery reveals itself.
The coyote comes into view ahead of us, trotting out of a low area, moving toward the road. Unlike the skinny, scraggly, desperate coyote that pursued us back in Elephant Butte, New Mexico, this animal is large with a thick, healthy coat of golden-tan fur. He doesn’t slink about. He moves confidently across the grass. This guy hasn’t missed any meals lately.
The coyote stops in the road and turns his head to look at us.
What a beautiful animal. Spike lowers his head, eyes riveted on the coyote, and turns on a low growl. Bridget circles my ankles making me high-step out of the leash. We continue moving forward toward the coyote. I’m glad I have this walking stick. I slam the tip of the metal stick into the hard-packed road with each step, giving the sound and appearance of determination and lack of fear. The crew keeps pace alongside me. The coyote’s glance at us is quick. He turns and trots back in the direction he came. Good! I guess we look like too much trouble to bother with . . . or he just ate.
Up ahead is an interesting camp.
Tucked into the junipers and overlooking the dirt road sits a very unusual camper. Someone took an old truck, and, as best I can tell, built a living space behind the cab. It has a peaked roof with a vertical pipe where smoke escapes (I noticed that yesterday morning.). A solar panel sits angled on the roof — I guess about 100 watts. How does he drive to get supplies? That doesn’t look like it goes out on the road. Maybe he has a motorcycle out of sight. If so, I haven’t heard it. Everything is painted green camouflage, successfully hiding the camp from distant view.
I first saw this camp when looking for a place to make my own camp.
I’ve made an effort to avoid disturbing this person’s solitude. As we walk along on the open road below the camo camp, I pretend it’s not there. Once we are well past, however, something causes me to turn around.
I look up the hill and see a man standing next to the truck, looking at us.
He raises his arm, and sends us a wide wave. I raise my arm and make a big, slow wave in return. Am I feeling the camaraderie of like minds? Then we both turn toward our homes. I wonder if he saw us walking up the road and waited for our return. I bet he’s an interesting fellow. This thought sends me on a reverie of why people make the choices they do.
Spike and Bridget are tired and happy to approach home.
Thank God Spikey’s back to his normal self. Yesterday Spike didn’t want to get out of bed. I had to carry him outside to urge him to relieve himself. Nothing. He didn’t eat or drink a thing all day. His gut made loud, gurgling noises as he lay on the bed, head on the pillow. I let him sleep most of the day, while I worried and fought the inclination to expect the worst. I also resisted blogging about the situation, not wanting to spread my worry around like I did the last time Spike wasn’t acting himself.
Last night I sleep with my arms around him.
At one point I could feel him shivering. This really scares me and I have to fight off middle-of-the-night terror at losing my sweet pal. I lie in the dark holding Spike’s warm body and my heart aches, thinking what Al and Kelly are going through, grieving for their little Cora. Oh please, please, not yet . . .
This morning Spike wakes up with bright eyes!
He jumps out the door, does his business and sniffs the premises. Hallelujah! Back in the door, he chows down on his breakfast with gusto and follows it up with a long drink. Yay! Spikey’s back! I shower him with kisses and snuggle my face into his neck, softly asking the oft-repeated question, “Do you know you’re the cutest, little boy in the whole world?”
Bridget and I play with him on the bed, rolling him on his back, one of his favorite antics. He kicks his legs in the air and wiggles himself, side-to-side. I laugh as I try to keep his squirmy body from falling off the bed. Bridget is jumping around on the wadded-up quilt. She looks as relieved as I am.
“You sure do know how to give us a scare, Spikey, you little devil!”
P.S. Previously on rvsue and her canine crew, the Perfect Tow Vehicle and the Best Little Trailer suffered a break-away cable mishap. The situation looks better now that I’ve ordered a new, coiled cable (See Resources Page). It’s being mailed General Delivery to the Ash Fork P.O. and is expected to arrive by the end of the week. Once I’ve clipped on that cable, the PTV can tow again!4/1/12 . . . $7.00 Burro Creek Campground fee 4/2/12 . . . $7.00 camground fee 4/3/12 . . . $10.87 lunch with pie, $4.99 gal. of milk 4/4/12 . . . $0 4/5/12 . . . $0 4/6/12 . . . $32.00 for gas @ $3.99 a gal, $4.50 lunch at A&W 4/7/12 . . . $87.36 groceries, $13.99 dog food 4/8/12 . . . $17.45 for break-away cable plus shipping