After admiring my rock-handiwork I unzipped the pocket on the side of my shorts, dug out my cell phone and checked the time.
I had been slowly wandering and picture taking and rock-name spelling for a couple of hours by this time and was now a good ways from the camp site.
It was time to begin slowly heading back, and I decided that I would climb up the hill and walk the road back.
More pictures of bird homes buried into a sand bank................
Wandering along the beach I began to search for a path that would take me back up to the road.
As I wandered I found myself easily distracted by messages I found in the sand.
A heart here, initials there, multiple animal and bird tracks everywhere I looked.
This place was alive with activity.
Looking around me there were still many thousands of ducks bobbing quietly in a straight line spanning the entire width of the huge lake, but I had seen neither animals nor humans during my entire trip...............
Climbing back up to the road..............
As I walked through a large patch of tall sage I decided to take a quick bathroom break before hitting the road.
As I laid the belt, holster and gun carefully on an upright log, I took one more look around me, squatted among the tall sage and for the millionth time in my life I thought about how easy it was for a guy.
They can pee anywhere, anytime, with little preamble or fanfare.
For a woman it always seems to be a production.
The colder it gets outside the greater the production it is to pee - in winter there are multiple layers of clothing to maneuver around, packs, gloves, guns, depending on where you are, a dog leash, and (hopefully but not always) the expectation of a modicum of privacy.
For women peeing is the definition of multi-tasking (and I will never forget the site of my female navigator squatting and peeing while still studying a map in the middle of a race).
Guys just stand there and whip it out...............
I had just begun the walk back towards the camp ground when my cell phone rang.
Without even looking at the screen to see who was calling me I answered.
I just got off the beach. I'm on the road heading back to camp. Yes I'm fine. Give me about 30 minutes.
As I closed the cover on my old-school cell phone I looked across the road and surveyed the farm land.
When we had been here a few months ago the irrigation equipment was busy working in overdrive to water crops.
The growing season is short in Idaho, and farming is a frantic and frenetic affair that lasts for only a few months.
Now - in early October - the crops were done for the year.
The growing, and harvesting, and transporting, was all done and the equipment and fields were silent again.
Already in hibernation.............
If you click on this picture it will enlarge and the Twin Buttes close to Atomic City are visible in the distance.
Getting to Mud Lake actually requires us to drive a huge U, and once we pull into the town of Mud Lake just before reaching the campground all three major buttes close to our house are directly to our right.
A long way to get to where we need to be, because of the necessity of driving all the way around INL (the Secret Squirrel Lab).....................
I love this picture.
Facing directly into the sun on a late afternoon the colors all became watery and faded out.
Suddenly the brilliant yellows of the trees and the greying contours of the mountains in the distance softened into washed out and mellow versions of themselves.
The world looked very beautiful ...............
The view in the direction I was heading..............
And the view looking back in the direction from which I came.................
Hunters can't seem to help themselves.
If there is a sign, they are GOING to shoot it up.
I smiled as I came across this sign, remembering all the signs in all the states that I had come across over the past few years, that looked exactly like this one.
And then I smiled some more, as I looked up and saw LC and Kory walking down the road, heading towards me.................
It was now late in the afternoon, and the sun would be setting soon.
It was time to eat, time to dig all the sleeping bags out that we would need for overnight sleeping.
Days were still very warm.
But night-times promised to be cold..............
A purple and pink sky and an almost full moon, taken from the camp site at the end of our first day at Mud Lake.................