Virgin River Gorge – November 2021-Part 2

Sunrise on a cloudless morning

Clifford and I appreciate the views, as well as the peace and quiet from our campsite on Black Rock Road.

Appreciating a good cup of coffee and views from the window

In early November, we decide to go to Mesquite, Nevada, just for an outing. The drive though the Virgin River Gorge is quite stunning on this beautiful blue-sky day.

Virgin River Gorge
Virgin River Gorge
Virgin River Gorge

Building an interstate highway through the gorge was an engineering feat. It is the kind of highway where one should mosey, but no, most people travel at breathing-taking speeds, totally missing the breath-taking views.

Breath-taking views
Virgin River

November 7th is a special day of gratitude as I sit out with a perfect cup of coffee after a short hike with Clifford. Today marks one year from the stroke. I am well, I can hike, I can read and write. I can talk to my kids — I feel very fortunate and very blessed.

Hiking with Clifford
Views hiking with Clifford

Most days I go walking. I could probably walk for miles and not get lost here. As it is, I try to vary my route a bit every day to see what I can see. One day, I find the wash, which obviously is subject to flash floods when there is enough rain. The vegetation here is more varied; boulders, gravel, and sand form an interesting rugged pathway across the desert basin. It is my favorite place to walk.

Variety in the wash
Walking in the wash

Clifford and I go for short walks together now and then, but often I walk alone.

Walking with Clifford
Cougar in the distance as seen from a late afternoon walk

Black Rock, Arizona – November 2021 – Part 1

David and Carnicoms on Black Rock Road – Looking southwest

At the end of October, after several days of travel with good camping spots every night, Clifford and I arrive at Black Rock Road in the very northwest corner of Arizona, about six miles south of St. George, Utah.  It was only by chance that our friend David called to see if we were still in Montana (guess he saw my photo of the snow at Beaver, Utah, posted just a couple of days ago on FB). As it turns out, the campground we were headed to is closed, so he invites us to camp next to him on Black Rock Road.

Our spot in the northwest Arizona desert

There are acres and acres of creosote, alive and green, but not a single tree. In all directions we have desert views of mountains and mesas, no buildings, no power lines, which is a real plus, but no trees.

View to the west
View to the north

After we get set up, I walk to David’s RV, about 300 feet further along the road and meet Ravyn, David’s sleek black cat. He has to leave tomorrow and has asked if I will feed her while he is gone. Ravyn and I immediately become friends.

Ravyn, the desert cat

A routine is soon established: I walk to David’s RV in the mornings to feed Ravyn while Clifford is on the ham radio. Then I sit out with tea and write in my journal.

Sitting out with morning coffee and journal

After breakfast, we proceed with our projects, appreciating this quiet and private place close to nature. I try imagining that the creosote is a vast forest and I am a giant towering over my trees. It’s an image I enjoy; the only thing lacking is shade.

My creosote forest near sunset

Although we can’t see it from here, I-10 is not far away, so cell service is decent. This means we can work on projects that require the internet. Clifford always has a list of projects. Having the space to put out antennas for his ham radios is at the top of his list.

We also enjoy being able to play music via zoom with our folk song group from the UK.

Playing fiddle with our zoom group
Ravyn finds a napping spot

Ravyn comes to our place during the day and finds the fiddle case to be a perfect napping spot.

Ravyn and Clifford

There is an open-ness to being here, but I also have a less definite sense of purpose. Maybe that’s okay after all the moving since leaving Montana, and purpose will define itself more clearly over time. I am grateful for the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “Breathing in, I am happy to be alive; breathing out, I smile at my world.” I am grateful for the desert with its quiet privacy, the views, hot yerba matte, colorful pens, and pretty journals.  This is a good place us, at least for the time being.

Grateful for hot tea and pretty journals