Bridget and Spike are no longer allowed to run loose at our Juniper Hill Camp.
I’ll explain why in a minute.
I need to back up a bit in the telling of this story.
Every day a green pick-up drives through here on the road that runs between our campsite and Rusty’s campsite. Rusty has made the acquaintance of the driver, a guy by the name of Don who’s been a cattle rancher in these parts for the past 38 years. He lives on his ranch miles away from us and the interstate, and his cattle roam the National Forest land around Juniper Hill Camp.
A while back some crazy idiots shot at his windmill, messing up the blades to the point where the wind can’t power it anymore. Now Rancher Don has to drive up this spur road past our campsite every day to hook up a generator so the cattle will have water.
Rancher Don stops as he comes through here, and he and Rusty chew the fat.
Well, Rusty relays a bit of information to me that comes from Rancher Don. To quote Rusty quoting Don, “The green mojaves are running.” Son of a bitch.
I’m not apologizing for that last thought.
Not this time. This situation deserves bad language. What, pray tell, is a green mojave, you ask? Well, my dears, in short, it’s the rattlesnake of your worst nightmares. The venom of a mojave green is said to be sixteen times more potent than that of a diamondback. You read that right. Sixteen times more potent. According to Rusty’s experience, they can be aggressive, too, as in attack-your-vehicle-while-you-scream-and-frantically-put-up-the-window aggressive.
And you thought a cranky bull was a problem.
Rancher Don encountered four mojave green rattlesnakes recently, and, bless his heart, he shot all four dead.
The story is that, back in the day, the Barnum & Bailey circus was traveling across the Mojave Desert when their venomous snakes from Southeast Asia got loose. Most were recaptured but a few got away (of course) and met up with the local snakes. And that, children, is how the mojave green rattlesnake came into being.
It’s enough to make you move to Ireland.
Speaking of moving, why don’t we, you may be wondering. It’s complicated. If we move toward Prescott to the west, or toward Flagstaff to the north, or toward Camp Verde to the east, we’re going to hit bad weather. A cold front with gusty winds, thunderstorms and snow at higher elevations is predicted for this part of Arizona for the next few days. This according to NOAA National Weather Service.
What about south?
Well, the large BLM area around Spring Valley, Bumble Bee, and Black Canyon City where Rusty used to camp is no longer any good because now it’s ATVers-gone-wild country. Bloody Basin Road is a possibility, but there aren’t many campsites there and it’s a drive only to find it filled up.
That leaves staying put.
As soon as the April blast of cold weather and snow is over, we can move north. Rusty says a late storm happens every year, and I believe him, having shared a snowstorm with him in Ash Fork last April.
Therefore, the crew and I will remain at Juniper Hill a few more days. We’ll watch out for mad bulls and insanely venomous snakes. As soon as the weather cooperates, we start to head north. I’m thinking Monument Valley, the Four Corners region, and Bluff, Colorado, for starters.
In the meantime, we stay close to camp and I supervise the crew in their pen.
This next statement will surely raise the ire of animal lovers. I’m letting it fly anyway. . . I kinda’ wish a green mojave meets up with a big, black ornery bull, the bull stomps the mojave to death, and the incident is so traumatic that the bull runs far, far away, never to frequent our campsites again.
And rvsue and her canine crew live happily ever after.
“Pssst. Hey, Bridge, baby. You’d better watch out. Did you know a big snake is going to sneak up on you and bite your face off?”