Sunday February 17: It is a very cool but clear morning at Cacti Forest, the dispersed camping area we found northwest of Tucson, Arizona. I am up early enough to get a few photos at sunrise, then make coffee and write in the journals.
However, there are increasing clouds throughout the day, so charging the batteries is limited. Projects by necessity include activities that don’t require use of the cell phone (which I don’t have) or laptop once the battery is dead. Viola, journal writing, reading, writing postcards, and taking photos are some of today’s projects.
Monday February 18: Another cool and cloudy day in the Cacti Forest.
Today I pack and repack and repack my backpack for the trip to Atlanta to see my daughter, Becka. We are both very excited. Even though I work on some of my editing and writing projects, today’s focus is mostly on preparing for the trip. Clifford learns how to water the herbs, leftovers are used up, and the backpack repacked once again. I go to bed late, but don’t sleep very well.
Saturday February 16: It is a cool, breezy, mostly overcast day here in Cacti Forest northwest of Tucson. Whenever the sun breaks through, the cacti are illuminated and I run outside to get a photo or two before the next cloud takes over. Later in the day I walk east to the cattle tank, taking more photos, surprised at how chilly it is.
Luckily, the afternoon sun on the solar panels is enough to get the batteries charged and, therefore, my laptop charged. I work on projects, including downloading and organizing photos from the cameras, since I don’t have a cell phone at this point. Clifford keeps busy with his projects, also. In the evening, I play viola for a bit and Clifford plays his dulcimer while I do dinner dishes. This has been a very peaceful and productive day for both of us.
Thursday February 14: I am up too late for sunrise color, but make coffee and get ready to go walking. Since I am walking in a place that I am not familiar with, I take a radio for communication and the knife my son Tye made for me. First I walk north, keeping an eye on the tallest saguaros. The thick growth of cacti is very disorienting and within minutes I could have been totally lost. It is certainly much different than walking in La Posa South where I walked in the desert every day, never losing my sense of direction. I continue walking, keeping a close watch on the tall saguaros, until I arrive at a large wash with lots of animal tracks in the sand.
I have no desire to attempt to cross the wash, so make my way back to camp and then, crossing the road, I walk south, a gradual downhill with fewer saguaros to use as landmarks and more cholla… and javelina tracks…. so I don’t go all the way to the thicket ahead.
Back on the road and walking west, I go beyond the point where Clifford and I had walked together when first looking for a spot to camp. The cattle tank and the highway are to the east, so I skip that for now.
Back at camp, we
open our mutual Valentine Day card and then I make smoothies for
breakfast. I stay busy with email, writing blogs, editing, and
playing viola while Clifford works on his projects.
In the evening it
starts to rain and we have a chance to try out our collapsible
water-collection buckets, filling them all with rain water.
Friday February 15: The morning is overcast with mist and drizzle; temperatures are in the 50’s all day.
In connection with his research, Clifford is making contact with a lab in Phoenix today. The drive with all the traffic and the rain is stressful and I have to remind myself to breathe easy. Once we arrive at the lab on the far side of Phoenix, Clifford talks to a lab technician there and comes away with an idea for the next step of this aspect of the research.
Heading back to our campsite, we decide to stop at Cracker Barrel in Casa Grande, south of Phoenix, and after lunch we take my defunct cell phone to a Verizon store. It is verified that it did not get wet, but just died, and a replacement will be sent to me. That is good news!
Back at camp, we sit
out in our little “patio” area and relax before I make nachos for
dinner. The day was a bit stressful, so having this quiet forest is