Quartzfest Week – January 2019

Sunday January 20: As most days here at La Posa South, my day starts with a walk in the desert, and my thoughts today are of Mary Oliver and her connection to nature so elegantly expressed in her poetry.

Sunrise in the desert

Today I work on a website for my daughter Ang and get some basics in place, but it is slow going, as the net is not great here. The usual evening routine of dinner, cribbage, and dishes finishes the day.

Monday January 21: It is really windy this morning, but I go for a desert walk anyway, visiting Grandmother Saguaro and the rose-bud looking blossom in the arroyo.

The “rose” that is not a rose
Grandmother Saguaro

Clifford and I go for an outing to Quartzfest at nearby Roadrunner BLM camping area, as today is the first day of classes and events for the week-long ham radio festival. Other years we have camped onsite, but this year we are staying at La Posa South, as it is easier to not pack up and move. Then we go to Quartzsite, visiting a funky bookstore, Family Dollar, and the market.

A funky bookstore

Tonight Clifford has a call with his brothers after dinner, while Rollie and I play a game of cribbage.

Tuesday January 22: Desert walk at sunrise, still windy, but better looking sky than yesterday.

Today Rollie works on the Suburban, replacing garden hose parts with the real deal parts purchased from a Chevy dealer. We have an early dinner then head to town for MacDougal West concert – the Peter, Paul, and Mary Trio clone. They are quite good and we enjoy the concert. Bed late.

Wednesday January 23: I go for a longer walk in the desert this morning – my quiet time.

In the afternoon we go to the Outdoor Survival class at Quartzfest. Back at camp, I post a tribute to Mary Oliver with one of her poems and one of my photos.

Thursday January 24: Today is the Quartzfest Trail Ride, which Rollie and I are participating in. Nearly 60 vehicles are in the lineup this year.

Trail Ride

We follow the leader, Frank, down Pipeline Road to Tyson Wash and down the wash to Tyson Well. Using our 2-meter radios, Frank points out the petroglyphs and gives us a history of Tyson Well, an important stop for desert travelers. We are here long enough to climb to the hilltop above the well.

Tyson Well

Cone’ cabin and studio and Coombs cabin are other historical sites where we stop as the journey takes us on back roads through the desert.

Rollie uses binoculars to look over the desert
Back country

Following Tyson Wash, the caravan heads to the Hi Jolly Monument on the edge of Quartzsite. Plaques detail the history of the camel experiment.

Back at camp, I am experiencing problems with the net, making it hard to send my entries to the Quartzfest photo contest and I am limited to photos taken today and the “rose,” which had been previously downloaded to the laptop. Very frustrating. In the evening we drive back over to Quartzfest to attend the Hootenanny for awhile. It was a very full day and midnight by time I head to bed.

Friday January 25: Words and not even photos come close to the experience of being in the desert at sunrise. The ambiance is more than the fresh air and the smell and sounds of birds. I find a perfect seat in the wash to sit and write in the journal, and visit Grandmother Saguaro, “rose,” and desert marigold before heading back to camp.

Smoothie, new kombucha tea, texts with photos, and preparing a blog from early September fill the morning until time to head to Quartzfest for the Antenna Walkabout. Looking at the bulletin board, I see four of my photos have made it to the finals.

New kombucha

Saturday January 26: For the desert walk this morning, I go to my sitting spot by Top-knot Saguaro, with coffee and journal.

A place to sit and write in the journal

Winter field day starts for Clifford, but is interrupted when we go to the Quartzfest closing. Lots of prizes are given out, and the photo contest is one of the highlights. I am delighted to take 1st in General, 1st in Pets, and 1st in Nature, as well as the Grand Prize. Needless to say, I am quite pleased to have done so well.

Subtle evening colors

Back at camp, Clifford continues with Winter Field Day, making radio contacts through the evening, while Rollie and I play cribbage after dinner. And as always, whether I win or lose, I am the one who does the dishes. And so ends Quartzfest week – 2019.

Off-Road Adventure – Quartzsite, Arizona – January 2018

Wednesday January 24: This morning I am up in time to get dressed, have breakfast, make a lunch, and head to the Welcome Center with Rollie by 9:00 a.m., as we are going on the Quartzfest off-road trip. We are planning on riding with someone else, as Rollie is not sure his S10 is appropriate for the off-road trip and Clifford is not planning on going; Suburban might not be ideal, either.

At the Welcome Center we see the line-up of vehicles; even though most of them are jeep-type vehicles, there are a few nice SUV’s that look a bit out of place, so Rollie asks the trip leader if his S10 is okay, and yes it is. So Rollie heads back to the campsite to get Ninja (who would otherwise have had to stay home all day) and his little pickup and we join the line-up. I count about 35 vehicles and we are somewhere in the middle.

The line-up heads south on 95, then off on a gravel road between the Crystal Hill Road and the Palm Canyon Road.

Heading toward the Kofa Mountains

Today we are heading into the northern end of the Kofa Mountains. After a few miles, we turn off the gravel onto a dirt road that winds around a rugged desert landscape, down and up rocky arroyos; a road of some sort, but quite gnarly in spots. I ask Rollie if he and the S10 are okay. He is having a great time pretending that S10 is a rugged little jeep and that it can go anywhere that the others can!

Off-road adventure – the Kofa Wildlife Refuge

Off-road adventure – the Kofa Wildlife Refuge

I take photos from the open passenger window as best I can, given that there is not a smooth moment anywhere.

Off-road adventure – the Kofa Wildlife Refuge

Off-road adventure – the Kofa Wildlife Refuge

Off-road adventure – the Kofa Wildlife Refuge

We make a couple of stops – scenic spots, including a hidden springs, for people to walk about a bit, and a longer stop for lunch in a beautiful desert canyon. Rollie and I find a couple of right-size rocks to sit on to eat lunch and relax.

Different type of tree grows at a hidden springs in the Kofa Wildlife Refuge

Off-road adventure – the Kofa Wildlife Refuge. View from the picnic lunch stop

Off-road adventure – the Kofa Wildlife Refuge. An arch is sighted

Off-road adventure – the Kofa Wildlife Refuge. Rugged mountains!

Off-road adventure – the Kofa Wildlife Refuge. Closer view of the ruggedness

Off-road adventure – the Kofa Wildlife Refuge

On the way back to camp, since the group is out of time for a stop at Crystal Hill, Rollie and I go there on our own.

Heading toward Crystal Hill

It is a fun place to hike a bit while looking for crystals and beautiful quartz pieces. We would have stayed longer, but Rollie is planning on heading to Quartzsite tonight for a music jam.

Back at camp, we have dinner, then Rollie heads to town while Clifford and I catch up on our day’s activities. I pick and edit photos for the Quartzfest photo contest, including a couple from our trip today. It sure was a fun day, but the outing tired me out and after sending pics to my girls, I to head to bed.