On to Ash Fork – April 2021

Camping South of Ash Fork, Arizona

Right when our two-week time limit at Powell Springs is up, Clifford is sick and the wind is blowing up a big storm, so consequently we end up staying longer. The ranger who stops to check on us is very nice about it.

Where to go next has been the question, and even with our exploratory drives and studying the maps, we have not come up with a good next destination until we hear from Tony, who invites us to join him on a forest road south of Ash Fork, Arizona. He left Powell Springs a couple days ago. Before he left we tried to figure out where we might both go, but things didn’t seem to be working out, wind and weather being an issue. However, his suggestion works for us, and we head north on highway 89 to the forest road turnoff. It is a nerve-wracking drive on highway 89 with way too much fast traffic for this highway. It is a relief to arrive at the forest road and find Tony, and we soon get ourselves set up nearby in a stand of pinon pine and juniper.

Setting up in a Stand of Pinon Pine

We are grateful for our spot here, despite the trash left by others. I pick up around our campsite, but disposing of trash is problematic, so I have to let much of the rest of it go.

Sunset from Forest Road 4

I go walking most days, just because it is part of the regimen established for stabilizing the heart. I’m always on the lookout for flowers on my walkabouts, happy to find a few here and there.

Happy to Find Flowers
Flowers on FR4

The Daily Walkabout

Daily activities include music and editing and visits with Tony while we are camped in this peaceful location.

Clifford Playing Dulcimers
Carol Editing and Studying Energy Medicine

We drive to Prescott Valley, about 30 miles to the south  from where we are now camped, and more work is done on the Suburban . Several days and many $$$ later, we have important repairs done that, while expensive, are very important for the safety factor involved in towing an RV.

Peaceful days on FR4

After we spend two weeks here, we make plans to begin the journey back to Monticello homebase.  It has been a good and peaceful spot on the route northward and we look forward to perhaps coming this way another time.

Good-bye to Forest Road 4

Finally Flowers – March 2021

Saguaros at La Posa South, Arizona

Even though we are “retired,” Clifford and I are busy as can be with our projects and domestic life here at La Posa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona, our home for the winter.

Moonrise at La Posa South, Arizona

Besides the morning walks in the desert and learning to play fiddle tunes on the viola, I edit for a couple of authors and write blogs. Photos are shared daily via text and messenger to keep family and friends up to date. Clifford does ham radio for several hours a day, flies with a flight simulator, and spends lots of time learning new music.

Walking in the wash

After Clifford gets himself a better drone, we go on an outing to try it out away from the camping area. With water, snacks, and my journal, I am set to entertain myself while Clifford flies his drone. This is cholla land, so walking is done with great care. As the sun gets low in the west, the light changes and the hills and mesas take on a rich warm color.

Clifford prepares to fly his new drone
Cholla land, so walking is done with great care
Last light brings a rich warm color to the mesa

Finally toward the end of the month, I spot a few blossoms here and there, but nothing like the previous winters. Still, any blossom is a delight.

The creosote appears to be the one that is thriving.

The creosote is thriving

Sunrise and sunset are special times of the day for me and I am always eager to see what colors will show up in the palette.

A pink dawn
A golden dusk

 

Windy and Windier – March 2021

La Posa South; view of Shale Mountain from our campsite at sunset

Clifford and I have been camped at La Posa South since late last November. Over the winter months I have established a routine of walking in the mornings, often taking a little thermos of tea and a small book of inspirational reading.

Morning walk in the wash

As March progresses, these walks continue, but the windy conditions make it sometimes a struggle to go as far as I’d like. With the approach of spring, the sun rises earlier and the sunshine soon warms the morning air, often too warm for me. Some of my more favorite places are traded for places to walk and sit closer to our campsite.

A favorite spot
A new spot closer to camp

With the ongoing drought conditions, there are still no flowers blooming. Trees and snags remain the focus of my attention.

Wild Stag Snag
The skeleton of a once lively tree
Turkey Vulture

Most days we play celtic or bluegrass music, outside whenever we can, Clifford with his dulcimer and me on viola. He finds places out of the wind and enjoys his music time regardless of the conditions.

Clifford playing dulcimer
Dulcimer in the wash out of the wind

For the Uke Jam, the UK zoom group that Clifford plays with, in celebration of the spring equinox, everyone was to show up as a rock star, Clifford went as Elton John.

Clifford as Elton John for Uke Jam

I sometimes take the cello outside, but music is always subject to the whims of the wind.

Sunset often offers delightful colors to end the desert day.

Saguaro at Sunset

Desert Walks – February 2021

La Posa South

Camped at La Posa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona, for the winter, I can’t help but notice the many differences between this year and February a year ago. For one thing, last winter’s rain brought blossoms to the desert, but the dry wind of this winter has left the land more barren with even the saguaros struggling for life. Despite this, I walk daily seeking the beauty of the land, whether it be the sunrise over Shale Mountain…

Sunrise from the campsite at La Posa South

ancient trees with their complex growth patterns…

Complex growth patterns
Ancient trees in the desert
Survivor

or a saguaro silhouetted at sunset.

Saguaro at sunset

I also walk because walking is an important part of re-establishing and maintaining health, and I keep my eyes open for heart-shaped rocks, almost always finding one on my saunterings.

Heart in the desert

The days flow one into another, usually having coffee with my brother Rollie and his finance Tata after the morning walk while Clifford is involved with his ham radio, then sitting outside to journal and read after breakfast. Most afternoons Clifford and I get together with Rollie and Tata to play music, choosing outdoors when the weather allows. Although the wind this winter has made playing outdoors more challenging, Clifford always finds himself a niche that will work. 

Playing music in the desert

While political, social, and health issues dominate the scene for most people, we are fortunate to be in a place where social distancing is the norm, and where, for the most part, we are unaffected on a day-to-day basis with the upheavals at hand.

 

Birthday in the Desert

Birthday Outing

One of the highlights of February in the desert at La Posa South is my birthday when Tata and Rollie make a special birthday dinner and give me a lovely bouquet.

The table is set for the guests
The guests

An outing to the Colorado River, taking a picnic and our instruments is another day of celebration. What fun to share this time with family as well as with Clifford.

Birthday outing
Picnic at the Colorado River
Music at the Colorado River
Rollie and Tata at the River
Birthday dress from Clifford
A new year begins for me

A New Year Begins – January 2021

Desert Ambiance

Clifford and I are camped in the desert at La Posa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona, having arrived in late November. This was not our intended destination this year, but this is where we are. Sometimes life demands rerouting.

I start my 2021 journal with the quote from Thich Nhat Hanh “The greatest miracle of all is to be alive.” I find this to be a powerful affirmative statement as I recover from the stroke of several weeks ago and as I see people suffering from the illness, quarantines, and isolation brought on by covid19.

A daily walk in the desert is part of my recovery regimen and my favorite time to go out is at sunrise. 

Winter sunrise
Sunrise seen from our campsite
The joy of a sunrise

Due to the extreme heat of last summer and the lack of rainfall, the early flowers are not blooming as they have in past years, but I am finding a different kind of beauty in the old trees, some struggling to show signs of life…

Unique and holding on
Like no other
Struggling but alive

some long-gone, creating unique desert sculptures.

Desert sculpture designed by Nature
Desert sculpture designed by Nature
Desert sculpture designed by Nature

I am always pleased to end the day with the sun setting behind nearby mesquite and saguaro, as I never tire of the many layers coming together as they do at sunset.

Sunset in the desert
Farewell to the day