It was truly an amazing experience.
Ray made a scouting expedition out of Quemado Monday morning to our planned campsite, and advised the last 1/4 mile of dirt roads in were impassable due to mud, ruts, and standing water. Might be able to get in, in a couple of days, but if more rain came (which it did), might not be able to get out til everything dried up....whenever that might be.
So, he located a group campsite at a state park on a bluff above Quemado lake, which were luxury accommodations compared to what we expected.....paved throughout, pit toilets, a shelter with a large fire pit, water access and a dump station. Even with periodic rain, and one heavy storm, we remained dry and mud free.
The next three days were spent hiking, hiking, hiking.....we found arrowheads, flint chips, worked pieces of stone, and tons
of beautiful chalcedony rose. Returning to camp each day, we cleaned our finds up and those who knew helped us identify them.
Thursday.....we got to the Anasazi pit houses, still pretty clearly defined up to 1200 hundred years later, and with pottery shards laying everywhere. Black and white pottery, also the clay colored used to cook directly in the fire. We were all in awe.
The find of that day, likely of a lifetime, was made by Carla.....who spied an odd little point sticking out of the dirt and uncovered a tiny, clay-fired dog. Carefully crafted, with detail for eyes, uplifted tail, and smiling mouth....and but for the bottom of two of its legs, it was in near perfect condition. Probably a child's toy, was our collective thought. Amazing.
We saw lots of elk, spent our non hiking time gathered together, talking and sharing, watching the gazillion hummingbirds....a couple of whom found their way into the Interstate....and simply had a grand time. We were a group very diverse in backgrounds, with some specific and germaine expertise, brought together thru these collective interests....and it was fabulous.
The dogs did well together, and had a wonderful time running loose in our campground, also in the wilderness where there were oh-so-many fascinating things to smell, roll in, and explore.
Lily did great
, and was by far not the most aggressive dog there, nor the one needing the most owner intervention.
. She was a really, really good girl, and is now quite exhausted.
I was the only solo traveler, and with a walking stick had no real difficulty but for traversing a few ravines...at which time one of the men would lend a hand down and back up.
A lovely, kind and generous group.....great people, led by the most lovely Ray and Nancy Eklund, who guided, provided assistance as needed, and shared their wisdom and information....I just can't say enough.
I will post a few more pictures on Ray's thread.
I am about to have a long shower and do a couple of loads of laundry, then we are going to explore Hoover Dam today.
I will start heading east tomorrow, and hopefully get to Chaco Canyon, if the roads are passable. They have been bad, and we have had more rain, so we'll see.
Nice to be unplugged for a few days, nice to be back and sharing, too.