A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Moldy Hat and Soup


Why, Arizona

When I unloaded the Trail 90 I discovered the ball cap I keep in the side pouch got mold over the year.  Some days these past eight months were rainy and damp and I guess it got in the pouch.  
I keep this cap in there for sometimes if I wear my helmet, 
I have something the wear when I go into a store.

That’s pretty bad.  I thought the cap was done for.  
I decided I’d try to clean it for after all, what else do I have to do.

In the end it cleaned up pretty well.  I can live with that.
The hat is falling apart.  That is glue you see.
Adds character.

While the hat was soaking I thought I would burn some trash.  
I cleaned the twigs out a previous camper had left in there.
I guess what I find.

That cursed rat that chewed on Beans cord had chewed out two nearly identical pieces and placed them in the fire pit!  What on earth for?  I thought he had simply chewed the cord in two.  If he chewed away two parts you’d think he’d take them down into his burrow.

It is an overcast, sometimes rainy day as I prepare this post.
We are stuck inside.  Its a soup day.
Beans gets no sunbath today.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Walking Gunsight Wash

 Why, Arizona

Gunsight Wash just to the north of us a few hundred yards is quite wide.  
The entire area around here for ten miles is designated as a flash flood prone land.
At least the highway sign a few miles north of Why says so.

It was difficult walking being soft sand.  
I found sticking to the sides along the bank had firmer ground.

Right away I began seeing rocks that...geez, I don’t like calling her “crazy woman”.
I’ll call her Rose since this was at her camp. 

Where was I?  
Oh yeah, 

Rose had a good supply of rocks to work with thanks to flash floods bringing them down the wash.

I was coming across occasional bits of quartz also so all of that in Rose’s camp 
could have come from the wash also.
Looks like a piece that had been worked by Native Americans but I doubt it.
Too thick for a arrowhead.

Then I came across this along the bank.

I have a couple apps on the phone that identifies plants and trees by just by scanning it with your camera.
What a wonderful age we live in.

Coyote melon or Coyote Gourd
They were the size of a large orange or small grapefruit.
Fresh young ones that are green are edible.  At this stage they are not.  Very bitter.
Indians would let them dry out then the seeds inside rattled which they used in their dances.

Continuing on I was seeing signs of how intense these flash floods can be by all the debris stacked up against trees growing in the wash.  Not a place to be when the summer monsoons hit.

Then I came upon what the app identified as a Desert Thorn-apple.
I have doubts for the range of this plant didn’t seem to extend this far east.
Said it was very toxic, is used as a hallucinogenic drug which involves the inability to differentiate reality from fantasy.  I have met people like that.  Can be fatal.
Well I will not test that, doubts or no doubts.

I turned back once I reached Rose’s camp.  I had been thinking of who tried to eat the coyote melon finding out it was okay to eat when green.  And then there was the poor soul who was the first native to try out a desert-thornapple.

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Yes, I figured where the horse died is where it was buried.  But it still had to be rolled over into the hole.  Could two people roll a dead horse over?  My goodness, just digging that hole would do me in.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Crazy Woman Camp - part two


Why, Arizona

The next day I walked down to the site of Crazy Woman Camp.  I retrieved the two notepads from the container then sat on the rectangular block of stone to the right and read the notepads.  The earliest entry on the pad with the story of the woman and her son was November of 2020.  Most all of the entries were expressing how special this place was to them, many saying it had a “spiritual connection” for them.  Some mentioned items they left behind.  Most all praised the woman for the sacrifice she made for her son.  The second notepad was new with just a few entries, most recent Nov. 27, three days ago.  
I replaced the notepads then went off searching for the grave of the dog and the horse.

The dog grave was close by, easy to locate.

If 2-53 was to be believed, then we had a date when the woman and her son were here at this camp.  That is seventy years.  Would this painted lettering be this well preserved in the harsh Arizona sun for this length of time?  Had someone redone it over the years?

The story in the notepad said the horse was buried west of the gate.
I stepped over the sagging barbed wire and went looking for the grave.

About a hundred feet away I found a large mound of dirt with a weatherbeaten cross.
This has to be it.  I had questions.
How did she maneuver a dead horse into a hole in the ground.
How was she able to even dig a hole big enough to accompany a horse?

I was trying to capture the mound of dirt but didn’t do well.

If she had written anything on the marker it is gone now.

On my walk back to her camp I found part of a snake skin.
This would be my offering to Crazy Woman Camp.

I was going to place it inside this jar that was lying at the base of the tree.  When I picked it up I saw the note attached.  Someone had left a jar full of birdseed for others to scatter about for the birds.
I put the jar back like I found it.

I put the snakeskin in a small bowl wedged in the tree then added a few seashells I found on the ground that had fallen out from the bowl back in to hold the snake skin in place.

These plastic flowers had fallen to the ground and I stuck them back up in to the tree.

I had mistakenly said the thing I found beneath the COVID memorial was a gourd.  When I was reading the notepad, someone wrote they hung up a saguaro boot.  That is what I found, not a gourd.  A saguaro boot is what is left behind when a saguaro dies and the fleshly body rots away.  The boot is a bird nest that was hollowed out within the saguaro when alive. The cactus heals the wound made by the bird leaving a hard crusty skin.  I thought about finding a small one to keep in our home then read it is illegal to collect them.  Why would that be?  Guess I will not be doing that.

Looking into the boot.

I think someone had a can of red paint and is responsible for this along with the “Crazy Woman Camp” stone and redoing the dog grave.  Wouldn’t you think she would have written her dog’s name on the rock?

This page, done in the same hand as the information inside the cover, explains “Desperado”.

The BLM didn’t leave this here but nevertheless I felt it was appropriate.   
I added the upper bone I had found on my way.

That evening as I laid in bed I thought more of her dealing with a dead horse.
I was thinking of the block of stone I was sitting on.  Could two people lift that?
Could two people lift the other rectangular block of stone over the opening of the fire place?
And just where did she find those two blocks of rectangular stone?

A can of sardines and a souvenir magnet from Organ Pipe N.M. Just down the highway.

Red paint man (Desperado?) leaves another mark behind.

Someone a lot younger than I climbed up into the tree to hang these bones.
Red paint man?

And even higher up was hanging a kerosene lantern.

Crazy Woman wasn’t crazy in my book.  I admired her.  This was a tough life living out here in the desert, maybe with a horse her only means of transportation.  Where did she get her water from?  Ajo is ten miles away, the only place for supplies unless Why had more 70 years ago than it does today.
Consider the weather too.

The older I get, the more I realize it is okay to live a life others don’t understand.

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Do I ever leave artsy stuff at a campsite?  
No.  I leave it the way I found it, cleaner if anything.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Crazy Woman Camp - part one

 Why, Arizona

Riding the motorbike to do some exploring further away than I care to walk I came upon Crazy Woman Camp less than a mile west of where we are.

Someone put in a lot of effort laying in the stone.

There were a lot of things left about in the camp.

Artsy things that visitors had left behind.

The fireplace was impressive.
Just where she got these big stones from I don’t know for there are not many lying about this area.
They could be from the wash alongside the camp spot.
I haven’t explored it yet.

Most rock is small pieces like this.

But the white quartz, which is abundant in Quartzsite, 
I haven’t seen much of around here.

You have lots of spare time when in the desert; this is what you do.

The plastic container firmly wedged in the crotch of the tree
held two notepads and a couple of pens.

One pad had this written inside the cover flap.  I briefly read it, then took a photo.

Back home I read it more carefully.  
Okay, now I would have to go back.

Are we not all of varying degrees of crazy?

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Rattlesnakes.  Yes I have come across a few while hiking.  Maybe three or so over the years.  That’s just when hiking.  I think they are beautiful and fascinating animals.  The key is seeing them before they see you.  Then all is good and you can enjoy looking at them.  I’ve been threatened by dogs more than rattlesnakes while walking about.
Beans riding on the motorcycle.  Yes, we’ve tried that a few times.  She sat in my lap and we went a short distance around camp.  She wasn’t impressed.  I thought she may associate it with going places further but has no interest.  Had I had her when she was younger and we could work on it more she probably would be into it. Same with a backpack.  I tried the backpack idea with Sinbad, having him in front of me, but he just wanted out.  Guess you need to start them out as a kitten.
TWG!  I was just thinking about you a few days ago after looking up some of those old blogposts for photos.  So happy to hear from you.  Hope you are doing well.  Thank you.