I know there has to be water around here somewhere.
The creek is dry until the snow melt fills it again. Yet I’ve seen a lot of animal tracks running alongside its rocky bed. The crew and I follow it up to the corral area where we previously encountered the big, golden-tan coyote. Sure enough. Behind the corral is a man-made, dirt basin obviously for the purpose of collecting and holding water. We climb to the top of the berm around the pool, and three ducks fly off the water before I can pull up my camera.
The small pool is surrounded by animal tracks.
Walking beyond the pool, we enter a shady glade. The ground is covered with deer droppings. It’s apparent the herd uses this spot for resting. How I’d love to be a bird on a branch to see what comes to the watering hole and then rests in the shade of the nearby trees!
Tiny purple flowers are blooming close to the ground.
We come across an interesting cactus with yellow bulbs at the end of its branches. I don’t know whether to call them flowers, seeds, or fruit. Of course, occasionally when out walking in these fields, the skeleton of an unfortunate animal is found. Life in the wild is more than sweet flowers and pretty views.
Having only eaten a few almonds, our walk gives me a good appetite.
Back home I pull out a carton of eggs from the refrigerator. I think of Rusty. Geez, he’s over there with crackers and peanut butter. I go outside and look over at his camp. I see he’s working on his truck. I walk over.
“Hey, Rusty! Good morning! Are you hungry?” He leans on his truck with a smile on his face as I approach.
“I’m cooking myself some eggs with salsa in a tortilla. Would you like to come over and let me fix you one?”
A few minutes later he’s in the camp chair on the shady side of the BLT, two hands wrapped around a dripping breakfast tortilla.
I know a big conversation is coming.
Rusty loves to talk. He compliments me on the breakfast, noting, “It’s a long time since I’ve eaten eggs.” Then he teaches me how to keep eggs when you don’t have any refrigeration. Rusty is a natural teacher.
“Take a dozen eggs, boil ’em and shell ’em,“ he begins. “Put them in a jar and take the juice from a can of jalapenos and pour it over the eggs. Close it up good and wrap the jar with papers. On top of that wrap it with wet wool. Leave it out at night and it’ll get real cool. During the day, put it in the shade and the wool will keep it cool all day. Just keep doing that to keep ’em cool.”
He cleans up the pieces of egg and salsa on his plate with the spoon, and thanks me again for the breakfast. We talk some more. I never encounter Rusty that I don’t come away having learned something.
Once again the crew and I go the seven miles to Ash Fork.
This afternoon I pick up the breakaway cable at the post office. Then I stop at a water dispenser and fill up jugs, only four gallons because I only have four quarters with me. This’ll keep us going. Next I stop at the Texaco station because there is a big dumpster out past the pumps, apparently for public use. I go inside and buy a Pepsi. In case someone does object, I can say I’m a customer. I’m thirsty, and for some reason I’m feeling sleepy. I can use a jolt of caffeine!
My supply of fresh groceries like fruit, milk, eggs, and bread is running low.
That stuff is costly in Ash Fork’s convenience stores. I think I’ll drive the 23 miles south to Chino Valley in the morning. I’ll see some more of the countryside and a Safeway is there. Rusty says the prices are lower than the Safeway in Williams where I shopped last. “You won’t have to pay the tourist tax,” he explains. And I won’t have to drive up that endless, steep grade to Williams.
When I pull out of Ash Fork Fields Camp for more propane, I’ll probably keep going to our next campsite, wherever I decide that will be. A young man at the laundromat, a local guy, told me camping a few miles from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is “iffy” regarding weather. “Some days in April are great. Then I was up there in a tent in May, around Mother’s Day, and it got down into the teens at night, snow and everything. You never know.”
Fulltime boondocking is like life. Success depends a lot on timing.
P.S. Look for the white speck in the photos. That’s the PTV and BLT.4/9/12 . . . $0 4/10/12 . . . $0 4/11/12 . . . $0 4/12/12 . . . $0 4/13/12 . . . $0 4/14/12 . . . $0 4/15/12 . . . $0 (I love typing zeroes.) 4/16/12 . . . $8.00 laundry 4/17/12 . . . $1.69 soda, $1.00 for 4 gal. water