Last Days on Abajo – August 2020

August 27-30, 2020

I go on longer morning walks these last days of August, since I know they will be my final opportunities to spend time in the forest.

Double Mother – Bartholomew
Dancing Scrub Oaks

We play music in the afternoons, sometimes zoom with the UK group, sometimes Clifford has other groups, or we each work on our own instruments. With the UK group I play viola, but on my own, I play cello, enjoying pieces that I’ve just touched on over the years. I have thoughts of playing in the little park across from the post office, so want to have a few pieces worked up in case I actually try doing that.

Rain showers in the afternoon are a welcome relief to the dry conditions here on the mountain.

Looking out at the rain on Abajo Mountain
After the rain
Rich forest color after the rain

On the 30th, since I am up before Clifford, I go for a final morning walk, but close to camp, heading off in a direction I didn’t often go, then around to say good-bye to Bertha, one of the Mother Trees I’ve enjoyed visiting. Back at camp, after breakfast, we pack up with some reluctance and head down the mountain, back to home-base and the Carnicom Institute tasks that Clifford has set up for himself.

Aspens near camp
Pulling out

While the word is in turmoil with covid, hurricanes, wildfires, and rioting in the cities, we have been at peace on the mountain. It is my hope that this sense of peace will remain with us as we go forward.

Finding peace in my world

A Good Visit and a Good Abajo Hike – August 2020

Morning walks continue to be a source of inspiration for the Higher Vibration Series, the blogs, and for me personally as a calming and centering influence in troubled times.

August 12th, we have a picnic with real people, a couple of women who were computer clients of Clifford’s back in the Santa Fe days. They are traveling together in a Class C, having intentions of seeing the country, plans totally put on hold by covid. However, since they are in our neck of the woods, having finally “escaped” from hot hot Arizona on their way back to New Mexico, we manage to pull off a picnic in the park behind the library. Big picnic tables under a shelter for shade, trees, and a spacious lawn provide a pleasant place to visit and share travel stories. It is so fun to actually visit with people in person, first time since May when my brother and his lady friend stopped by on their way to Montana.

A couple of days later, Clifford and I go for a hike, this time cross-country to the jeep road that we had discovered on a previous hike. We explore another road, but as it seems to go down down down, we forego it after awhile and just continue the jeep loop back to Pine Flats where we are camped. It was a great afternoon for a hike with lots of opportunities for photos.

Sitting with a Mother Tree

While the world seems to be in turmoil with covid, controversy and contradictions at every turn, we are at peace on the mountain.

Peace on the mountain

Abajo Hike – July 2020

The last days of July include a hike with Clifford, leaving cross-country from our campsite. Heading south, we eventually come upon a jeep trail and since it is going the direction that we want to explore, we follow it in a big loop on the north slope of Abajo Mountain. Sometimes we are in pine forests or groves of scrub oak, sometimes surrounded by aspens or crossing meadows. The road is rugged, probably a lot of fun for ATV’s and mountain bikers. It eventually takes us around to the far side of Pine Flats, quite the delightful hike.

Scrub oak grove

Having listened to a documentary on trees having feelings and friends (of course they do!), I started being more aware of trees hanging out in families, as couples or close friends, as well as the great trees called Mother Trees, which nourish the trees around them through their complex root systems and by providing shelter for saplings. Photos of tree families and friends will be featured in a separate blog, as there are too many for this blog. Wildflowers are always a delight to see.

Of course, music continues, sometimes individually and sometimes Clifford and I play together. The photo of me with the viola is a “Becka Day” as I realized that I was wearing pants, shirt, and shoes, all from Becka. Thanks, Becka!

While we are here, the roofing job takes place at home-base in town, and when I go to town to check on the roofing and run errands, I discover that a shrub near the driveway is BLOOMING! We have never been here this time of the year, since we are usually in Montana by mid-July. However, this year is different because of covid. It is a small consolation to see the beautiful blossoms of a Rose of Sharon.

Rose of Sharon at Home-base

With smoke from the forest fires in Colorado adding particulates to the air, the sunsets are particularly vivid these last days of July.

Snippets on Abajo – July 2020

July 6:

*Morning walk; I use photo of a purple flower for today’s Higher Vibration photo, *Run all computer programs, trying to keep my laptop working, *Check & answer email, *Make edits to a memoir by an author from UK, *Play viola with Clifford playing dulcimer, *Work on my website – the Higher Vibration Gallery, *Dinner & dishes, *Talk to MI, a friend from CA – Words of wisdom from MI – “Don’t re-enforce negative thoughts by repeating them.”

Morning road loop walk
Purple flowers for Higher Vibration Series
Evening in the aspens near our campsite

July 7:

*Happy Birthday photo “card” to my son Tye, *Trip to town for errands, laundry, watering flowers & bird baths – takes up most of the day, *Dinner & dishes, *Foxtail at sunset for Higher Vibration photo, check FB, which is entirely too time-consuming

Morning road loop walk – the aspen section
Foxtail at sunset – Higher Vibration Series

July 8:

Repeats: *Morning work through the woods, *music with Clifford, *Email, *Finish editing memoir, *Higher Vibration photo from the morning walk

New or different:*Research literary agents for Ang’s fantasy novel – Dragons of Va’Haden. Send one query, *Calls with roofing agent and home owner insurance agent – work on roof will move forward

Morning road loop walk – the scrub oak section
Big gnarly pine tree at our campsite

July 9:

Repeats: *morning walk, *email, *meals & dishes, *Website HV Gallery

What’s new: *Start 2nd edits for Ang’s sci-fi novel, “I Am Markus Desmend,” *Clifford makes a trip to town for propane, gasoline, and water – Right after he leaves, boys on motorcycles come tearing right into our campsite. Guess they are a bit surprised to see a wild mountain woman running out to tell them to get out of our campsite. I don’t know what they were up to, but no good, for sure.

Walking in the pine forest
A “road” less traveled – except by deer (just right of center)

July 10:

*Morning walk taking photos of “tree friends” and a photo for the HV series, *Edits to Markus, *Website Gallery, *Music with Clifford, *Meals & dishes, *Calls from a CA friend and from my youngest daughter, who will probably not make the trip to Montana due to covid. It is a long flight from Hawaii and there are too many unknowns about the health consequences. Plans for a get-together for her birthday in Glacier Park are postponed.

The grace of aspens

July 11: Variations on some of the above

Another, more mature, grove of aspen – off trail

July 12: The morning walks take up the time I usually spend journal writing, quiet sitting, inspirational reading, and so on. The time spent with nature makes up for it in many ways. However, the journal is a record that needs to be kept, so that is today’s focus – getting caught up the journal.

Little yellow flowers thrive in the hot dry climate

LaPosa South to Flagstaff – April 2020

April 1 to April 5: These first days of April are a time of change for us. We had planned to leave LaPosa South on the 15th, but due to increased travel restrictions because of covid19, we change our minds and begin packing so as to leave tomorrow.

Last morning desert walk

My brother Rollie and his lady friend Tata plan to come for dinner and music, but Rollie collapses. Tata calls 911 and we all spend the evening at the emergency room of the nearest hospital. Tests are done and Rollie will be fine. Clifford and I go back to camp around midnight; Rollie and Tata return to camp even later. Rough night for all, but glad everything is okay.

We delay our departure to make sure Rollie is okay and to have another opportunity for dinner and music. Saturday is now our departure date. Even with preparation ahead of time, it takes us awhile to get ready to leave. We say good-bye to Rollie and Tata, and she gives me two beautiful rocks: obsidian and a quartz crystal imbued with the intention for safe travel.

Leaving our campsite at LaPosa South

The Arizona desert is beautiful with so many flowers blooming, but hard to get decent photos from the vehicle at highway speeds. The ocotillo in full bloom, a purple ground cover, and California poppies are especially colorful. We leave I-10 at the junction of US Highway 60 to Wickenburg, then travel east on Arizona Highway 74 to I-17, bypassing Phoenix.

Arizona desert

North of Phoenix at the Agua Fri National Monument, we pull off, intending to camp where we camped with Rollie two years ago. However, Saturday afternoon is not a good time to fine a place to camp. This place is not designed to encourage camping, so the few possible places are already taken. Going in further was not a good idea because the road becomes more rugged and steep in places. We turn around, drive back out to I-17, then backtrack south to a parking area we had seen a few miles back, which turns out to be the Badger Springs Recreation Area. There is a large and level parking lot and we get set up away from others who are already there.

Badger Springs Recreation Area
Overnight at Badger Springs Recreation Area

The next morning, my son Matt calls, as there was an explosion and fire at the CBD plant where his son, my grandson, works. It was very very scary for everyone, but other than singed clothes, none of the workers were injured. Thank goodness!

As we are getting ready to leave, four semi’s pull in and unload their cargo – several hundred sheep that will soon spread out over the land for their summer pasture. It was fun to see them since I raised sheep for several years – not hundreds, but enough to have a fondness for them.

Sheep coming to summer pasture

It is steep downhill to Camp Verde followed by a steep haul back up to Flagstaff, Arizona.

San Francisco Peaks above Flagstaff, Arizona

North of Flagstaff, on US Highway 89, we turn off on a forest road and find a spot to camp for the night. We are set up in time to have lunch and a restful afternoon. I walk about, missing the flowers of the desert we have left behind, but pleased to see trees and snow on the mountain peaks. We are grateful for a peaceful place to spend the night.

Forest Road camp
Evening at our overnight north of Flagstaff

March Marches On and Out – March 2020

Sunday, March 29 – More flowers…. More restrictions, including mandated “Stay Home” under whatever names various states call it.

Monday – Clifford wakes me up at 3:00 a.m. because there is a mouse in the house and he didn’t know where to find the traps. The mouse is subsequently trapped, and in the morning I thoroughly clean and disinfect the floor before getting on with my morning walk and other projects.

Desert walk

The flowers are so beautiful and I especially enjoy photographing and editing globe mallow.

Globe mallow – artistic impressions

Although the desert marigolds are past their prime, they are still attractive and grab my attention.

Other blossoms, from the tiny ground-huggers to the tall ocotillo, add to the desert palette.

Groound-huggers

In the later afternoon, Rollie and Tata come over for dinner and music at a campfire.

Tuesday – Rollie comes to look at our leaking water pump, and later when he and Tata go into Quartzsite, he picks up one for us. In the afternoon, they come over, bearing food for dinner and our new water pump, which Rollie installs. We visit as we eat dinner, but no music tonight, being too late to get out the instruments.

And thus March marches out and we will see where April takes us.

Desert Opulence – March 2020

March 25-27: It is usually calm in the morning when I go on my desert walk, as is my custom here at LaPosa South (south of Quartzsite, Arizona) where Clifford and I have been camped since January.

Morning walks in the desert

One of these mornings I go further out into the desert than usual and am rewarded with sightings of Apache plume, little pink puffs on a small shrub.

Apache Plume

The globe mallow and desert marigold are still in full bloom, while tiny ground-hugging blossoms begin to make their appearance. I must walk carefully not to step on flowers.

Desert marigold in bloom

Ocotillo buds begin to open, revealing blossoms that wave gently, like tiny red flags.

It is windy by afternoon and most activities are inside the RV – editing, writing, playing music, and so on. One day we go to my brother Rollie’s place to have dinner with him and his lady friend, Tata. Another day we go to town for errands, and when we return, it is apparent than a twister twisted through our campsite, creating a little disarray, but no damage. We are fortunate that the awning was not out.

Living as we do, camped by ourselves several miles from the highway and at least a couple city blocks from the nearest RV, being isolated is not a “thing” for us, it is just a way of life. I walk freely in the desert every day and never see anyone. However, going to Quartzsite for errands is weird, as social distancing is obviously in place at some establishments, but not others. However, everywhere we go, there is a sense of distrust, which feels odd and very uncomfortable.

No social distancing here

We had planned to head north at the end of March and camp in northern Arizona for a month before returning to Utah, but with the current state of affairs, as well as the still mild temperatures here in the desert, we will stay as long as we can.

Sunrise in the desert

Life of a Snowbird – March 2020

March 22-24: I can’t say how it is for other folks camped here at LaPosa South (south of Quartzsite , Arizona), but for Clifford and me, we are really enjoying our winter desert home.

A morning campfire with coffee and journal

I love spending time walking in the desert soaking up the stillness and beauty. The desert here is anything but barren. It is lush and rich with color.

Desert Marigold
Globe mallow bush
Layers of color

I spend a lot of time taking photos, culling photos, editing photos, and writing blogs of our travels using photos. Of special enjoyment is using the Snapseed app on my cell phone to bring out the best of certain photos, which I then use for the Higher Vibration Series that I post on FB. I am on day 161-163 of this series. The purpose of this editing is to have a greater sense of the feeling of what has been photographed, not just a record of what I’ve seen. I’ve started doing composites using Snapseed, which is a creative use of photography that I’ve not utilized before.

Globe mallow composite
Globe mallow and desert marigold composite
Desert marigold composite

Besides photography and the domestic chores, I edit books and play viola or cello. Clifford works with his ham radio and plays the dulcimer much of the day. We get together with my brother Rollie for music as often as we can. An occasional trip to Quartzsite for errands rounds out our week.

While editing and culling I ran across an image from five years ago: Deschutes River looking toward the Newberry Monument in Central Oregon. That was a great trip!

Deschutes River – Oregon

Spring Equinox in the Desert – March 2020

March 19 & 20, 2020 – While it snows in Montana where family and friends live, it is a season of blossoms and more blossoms here in the desert at LaPosa South where Clifford and I are camped, south of Quartzsite, Arizona.

Desert sunrise

Walking in the desert at sunrise is such a delight and later I get Clifford to walk with me to the largest of the ocotillo, which is beginning to bloom. I also show him my the red bush that the hummers love, but it has mostly finished its job. However, more little flowers hugging the ground join the parade of flowers in the desert.

Cairns mark the way
A favorite spot

Our usual activities continue: ham radio and dulcimer for Clifford; editing, blog writing, journaling for me. Since my brother Rollie has moved down the road, the viola is getting neglected somewhat, as playing tunes by myself is not as much fun as playing with him.

Our very nice little kitchen

One of my daughters has closed her business and taken her kids out of school, even though school is technically still open. One of my sisters is now working from home. And so it goes…..

Tempestuous Weather at LaPosa South – March 2020

March 18 – Overcast skies and rain off and on keep the temperature in a holding pattern of 50’s all last night and all day today at LaPosa South (south of Quartzsite, Arizona) where Clifford and I are camped.

Desert walk at sunrise
Desert marigolds near sunrise

In the afternoon, a very strong wind comes up and I am sure glad that the awning is in. Other folks, including Rollie’s lady friend, suffer damage from the rain and especially from the strong wind.

In spite of the tempestuous weather today, I go out walking a couple of times and enjoy taking photos.

In addition to the desert walking, today was also a day to run errands. Back at camp, I did some editing and blog writing, while Clifford worked with his ham radios and dulcimer. … All the news is about Covid 19 as more schools, rest areas, campgrounds, and restaurants close.