Met Mike and Danielle a few days ago when they set up tents near us. Here from their home in snowy Colorado. they are staying in Senator Wash for a few days before going on to visit family in San Diego. They’re interesting folks having recently sold their live-aboard-boat in Israel that they bought in Switzerland and spent the previous couple of years traveling the water ways of Europe and part of the Middle East. Now they plan to buy an RV and travel most of the year on the roads of the US and Canada. It was fun to talk with them, they have lived in such an interesting way. They said that right now they were torn between buying an RV in the US for a couple of years of travel or perhaps traveling to Greece and buying another boat to travel more in Europe as the price for boats should be quite low there due to all the financial problems going on in Greece. Ah, choices, choices.
Then there’s the “George and Margaret” couple here from snowy Idaho. They’ve been coming here every January for years after they spend the holidays with their family in Idaho. They camp in a newer, good size truck/camper. With their four wheel drive truck, they can easily traverse the rough dirt roads to the North side of Senator Wash Reservoir where they have that side of the reservoir almost completely to themselves. They tell us they rarely have anyone camping near them as the dirt road leading to the North side of Senator Wash Reservoir is very rough. These two 80+ yr. old adventurers had just hiked around the reservoir…impressive. No wonder they looked so good!
There are so many interesting folks to meet when you travel. It seems that people who hike or camp are a particularly friendly bunch. We love to hear their stories and imagine the choices they made in their lives to bring them to this point. When you’re young, you make so many choices that may lead you down a road that you never thought you would be on when you envisioned your life. We’ve met folks who dropped out of the corporate life to live in a commune and folks that chose the military or police work and did that for years and yet here we are all together traveling the country and our paths cross in the most interesting places. We have talked to fellow travelers and folks we meet in various towns and places we visit and each has taken different, interesting paths through life.
Saturday, another day for a good, long hike around the reservoir. Andrea opted to stay back and do some Tai Chi leaving Jim, Jerry and me to wander off and enjoy the stark desert scenery contrasted with the deep blue of the water on this journey. There’s a point, hiking around the reservoir, on one side of the trail is an inlet of the Colorado River with a marsh area well-known for good fishing and on the other side of the trail is the Senator Wash Reservoir and all this surrounded by the stark beige and brown desert hills. Quite a lovely area to walk.
Heard from the tenters nearby that the “guided” Thursday hikes are very informative and enjoyable so next Thursday we will join the organized hike. They leave this spot at 9 am and say “bring lots of water and your lunch” . Uh Oh, hope we can keep up with this group of experienced hikers and their guide for an entire day.
Went on our first and only “guided hike” last summer in a National Park so we’re a little skittish about “guided hikes”. It was Ranger led about six miles round trip but through Grizzly country. We showed up at the appointed time and the “well prepared” hikers gawked at us. Me with my Liz Claiborne back pack and Jerry with his sandaled feet the group just sighed when they looked at our old faces but we were unconcerned as we’re reasonably fit (for our age) and have hiked fairly long distances, up and down hills with no problem. The Ranger showed up and we were pleased to see that she looked almost as old as we. Ha! She started the hike like someone was shooting at her! Everyone, not just us, strained to keep up with her but no one wanted to be the one to complain. Of course, in grizzly country you have great motivation to keep up with the “expert” carrying the bear spray. She stopped occasionally to show and explain something, for example; where a grizzly had recently scratched the bark off a tree (you could see the deep claw marks). While she talked about a point of interest we could mostly hear the hikers, us included, trying to catch their breath. Finally, we reached the turn around point, a pretty water fall, stopped to have lunch, and let the few laggers in our group catch up. When I caught my breath and was able to talk I asked her about our “safety net” the bear spray. ”Oh”, she tells us, ”you have to wait until the charging bear is with-in 25 feet, the one-use canister only holds seven seconds of spray, and you can only use it if the charging bear is up-wind from you”. SAY WHAT!?! I asked, who could possibly stand their ground, think and assess the situation and get the bear spray out of its’ holster with a bear suddenly charging. Her answer was the best. ..she said she didn’t know if she could assess everything in the short time one would have in that situation and that she had never had the experience of having to use the bear spray. She said just remember not to run, play dead. The not running would likely be easy in my case, if I saw a bear charging me I am sure I would faint dead away. Well, we have been “townies” all our lives, hiking where animals that want to kill and eat you are rare. With her explanation out of the way, she announced that after lunch she was going to climb up the side of the waterfall and all hikers were invited to join her as a bonus. We demurred, and began the hike back albeit at a slower pace but on our own. While we didn’t have any bear spray with us (I am not so sure it would be all that helpful, in our case), we did have our voices. They say if the bear hears you coming he/she will move elsewhere. Well we took this bit of information as gospel and made so much noise shouting, clapping and stamping our feet on our way back we didn’t even see a butterfly.
Happy Hour at 4 pm daily
I love the tradition of a daily happy hour. Haven’t always attended but having the option of getting together with fellow travelers is nice. Saturday, I prepared some candied pecans, others brought various chips and dip. In the desert as the sun drops in the sky the wind picks up and the temperature drops just as quickly making happy hour not much longer than an hour. Good company and snacks, who would complain? Also, you learn a lot during these get-togethers as various places to visit, tips and ideas flow freely. Sunday, happy hour for us, was cancelled because Jerry felt “mildly ill”. Sure he will be fine, but don’t want to share his germs with others.