Friday, June 23, 2017

The Desert (The 2nd Water Tank)

For a week or so it was very hot.
Endlessly sunny.  Endlessly dry.  Endlessly hot.
Late one evening last week LC, Kory and I loaded into the Suburban and headed out to The 2nd Water Tank.
Which sounds like it may be something special.
It is and it isn't.
At one time years ago this land was used a good deal by farmers.
At this place there was power and water, and the remnants of that time still exist.
Nowadays farmers lease land for summer grazing of both cattle and sheep, but they spend only a few months and truck water in for their livestock.
We love this place because it is a wonderful focal point smack dab in the middle of the desert. 
It is surrounded all directions.
Only a few BLM miles from town and with endless views of the buttes close by and the mountains in the distance.
This year (because of the snow we had through the winter and the rain we had through the spring), this place is completely filled with yellow wild flowers..................
After I opened one of the back doors of the Suburban, Kory eagerly leaped out of the vehicle and bolted to the left.
LC and I wandered to the right.
There is a huge fenced-off pen (that once was used to corral livestock but which now is abandoned and overgrown), and we planned to slowly wander the circumference of the pen while I snapped pictures and while our dog happily played and then disappeared in the tall grass.
I cannot describe just how different the desert looks this year.
There has never been so much life in this place - tall grasses and endless carpets of flowers covering the desert floor.
This piece of John Deere Equipment hasn't moved in the four years that we have lived here.
Neither LC nor I can understand the mentality of those who would abandon perfectly good farm equipment.
Sell it.  Give it to someone who can use it.  Donate it to a charity that could sell it to raise money.  But to just let it slowly decay over time makes no sense.
Regardless, right now it is partially consumed with yellow flowers and was one more focal point in a place with few focal points, and I snapped these pictures before moving on......................
I was wearing snake boots and LC was wearing snake chaps, and we waded through tall patches of flowers, enjoying this place very much..................
One more John Deere piece sitting forgotten and abandoned in the middle of nothing and nowhere.................
A puppy-head would occasionally pop up through the flowers, but for most of the time we were wandering Kory was lost in the growth.
Loving every minute of the adventure and "newness" of this place as it looks this year..................
By the time we were on the back side of the corral the light had changed.
It was late in the day, the sky was beginning to cloud over, the sun was beginning to set and the mountains in the distance began to stand out on the horizon.
It was a beautiful time of day..................
There is one antelope - a male - that has moved into the area.
He roams alone, is very skittish and so far has been impossible to get close enough to, to take a decent picture.
Big, healthy, fast, and he is beautiful.
I hope he stays around.
Zoomed in too far but this is the best picture I could take of him on this night...............
If you seek creative ideas go walking.
Angels whisper to a man when he goes for
a walk..........Raymond I. Myers

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Desert (Little Grand Canyon)

We had huge amounts of snow throughout this past winter.
Spring was wet and cold.
Early summer was dry and cold (and a couple of weeks ago we used the wood stove in the living room for two days when it was surprisingly rainy and very cool).
With so much moisture for so many months the desert behind Atomic City looks nothing like it has in the four years we have now been here.
Even on June 20 everything is green and lush, and huge swaths of the desert floor are completely covered with yellow wild flowers.
Hundreds and thousands of acres of nothing but wild flowers.
It is beautiful.
It is more than beautiful.
It is astonishing.
And suddenly (and unexpectedly) walking in "The Desert" feels more like walking on "The Plains".
This summer (before it all fades, which it inevitably will) I am completely enamored with the desert..............
Yesterday I loaded my eager puppy into the Suburban and together we ventured out into the desert with no particular destination in mind.
Our only goal was to be outside and to wander together in this silent and empty place.
Driving to the back of town I turned onto a double track and hard-packed dirt trail and wandered slowly onto BLM land.
Kory stood in the back of the Suburban and happily stuck her head all the way out of the back window, before crossing to the opposite side of the vehicle and sticking her head out of the other back window.
Rinse and repeat - over and over again criss crossing from one side of the vehicle to the other to see what she could see.
She was a happy dog and more than ready for adventure........................

Two miles from the house I parked the vehicle in the middle of the trail, put the vehicle in park and shut it down.  Without turning back I could hear Kory shuffling from foot to foot in barely contained excitement.
Climbing out of the Suburban I opened the back door of the vehicle and my pup leaped down to the ground and was gone.
Already running, sniffing, marking, exploring.
We had parked at what the locals in our tiny town refer to as the "Little Grand Canyon".
In reality it is simply a huge gravel pit where county road crews load gravel for roads, and where locals steal trucks full for their landscaping.
Not us of course.....................
I could hear the tags on her collar jangling, but could not see my dog because she had disappeared into the flowers.
Exploring whatever it was and wherever it was that her nose took her.
I was still standing beside the truck and took a few moments to take in the world around me.
LC and I had taken Kory to "The Second Water Tank" a few days earlier and had been stunned at how this desert now looked.
A few days later I was standing alone and still in awe of how beautiful everything looked.
There was still snow on the peaks of the mountains in the distance.
Seemingly never-endings acres of land was completely covered in yellow flowers.
Everything that wasn't yellow was bright green and filled with life.
The desert was alive.
Smiling inwardly I slowly began to walk down the trail, headed in the same direction I had last seen my dog.
Yellow flowers almost completely obscured even the trail...................
After a short wander down the trail I impulsively ventured off trail and waded through thigh high flowers.
It was summer and rattlesnake season, but for Christmas I received these boots.
They are Rocky boots.  Waterproof boots.  Snake boots.
And between the gun and the boots, I felt comfortable enough to wade through the flowers, heading towards a rise that I knew overlooked the Grand Canyon...................
Immediately after veering off trail I turned back in search of my dog.
I couldn't see her but didn't expect that I would.
I couldn't hear her either but knew that she had to be close.
After calling to her twice to no avail I walked back to the trail wondering what she had gotten into.
God it was so beautiful out there!............
And there she was.
Happy.  Joyfully bounding through the tall grasses and flowers.
I smiled when I saw her.
My dog was happy.  
I was happy to see her.
It was all good..................
One more look back at the truck.
It's a 460 with a single cab and sometimes we talk about selling it for both of those reasons.
But we don't put 5000 miles a year on the truck, it has a straight body, is serviced when needed and whenever I start the engine I just think "Nah.........we need to keep this thing"..................
By the time I reached Kory again I could hear her crunching on something.
She had found a dead rabbit.
Knowing that she'd be there for a while I again veered off trail.
When I got to the rise I would call to her.
This is a dog that (from all appearances when we got her) had never experienced the puppy-joy of chomping on found desert-kill.
The first few times she ate something she had found in the desert, she threw it up all over the carpet in the hallway.
She had certainly made up for lost time since she came to live with us and thankfully she nows keep it all down.
Most of the time................
Our Little Grand Canyon..................
And Kory catching up with me on the rise overlooking's a gravel pit.................
She can run all day long the rest of the year, but in summer she fades as quickly as her momma.
The plan was to walk around the circumference of the gravel pit and pick up a trail on the far side of the pit that I knew was there.
We'd then hike our way around and back to the truck.
I had water in the truck but none with me.
Kory was tiring quickly in the dry heat, but it had been a couple of days since I had taken her for a long walk and wanted to tire her out.
I encouraged pup to catch up to me and she did.
And then she passed me.
She was OK................
One of two entrances to the pit...................
Circling back to the truck.....................
By the time we arrived back at the truck we were both very thirsty.
Pulling down the tail gate of the truck I encourage Kory up into the bed of the truck.
Effortlessly she bounded up into the back and then waited patiently while I retrieved two bottles of water from the cab.
She knew the drill.
Taking a long sip from one bottle I cupped my hand and continued to pour water into it while pup drank thirstily.
She drank both bottles and I knew that she would.
It was time to go home before it got any hotter..................