While getting a pair of new tires, I was shocked to discover a broken shock. We couldn’t get away until nearly noon.
We’re heading out to the Galiuro Mountains to find possible future glamping spots and take a needed hike in a riparian area along a creek. We along with most people, have been feeling the crunch of the pandemic and our response is to head for the hills and the blessed solitude of nature.
I just received my new canvas bell tent in two fifty pound boxes. I’m setting myself up for a summer home away from home, glamping. The 13 ft. diameter tent will host my wood burning stove, twin mattress, oriental rugs and a sitting area. I purchased a solar power for my computer and devices. I’ll sit in comfort for a week or two at a time, in my hermitage with guitar, writing, a book or two. I can pack it all into the 4×4 SUV with a week’s provisions staying in many remote locations. I can walk for miles, exercise and live freely in nude and natural solitude. It is a part of my retirement plans. It requires some location planning, the right places for an extended stay.
My glamping setup will still require many of the chores of camping. All of these are healthy down to earth exercise and movements. I expect to sustain good health from this, physical, mental and spiritual.
Remote Free Range Ranching:
We pass through wide open ranches. One is six miles across. This is industrial ranching. The land has been tortured, but today it is rolling hills. They look strangely colored. I realize that mustard weed has taken over the countryside, creating an unnatural florescence. An orange-ish tint pops out here and there.
Still, the few trees, or a cottonwood strip, which is a ribbon along the creek flow, make this a nice drive.
Things slow down on a dirt road. There are a few homes out here in the wide open spaces.
I have investigated the area with satellite pictures and some topo maps to prepare. I find the turnoff that seems to go away from the main road and toward some ranching. It winds around into what appears to be wooded areas. We have some time and try this first, just to look.
This turns out to be the road in better condition. There are trailers out here parked in camping spots.
We head on past a site with good potential and soon find a cattle guard. Crossing is like day into night.
I can still remember getting the same sense, like when I crossed from West Berlin into the Eastern Block through the Berlin Wall as a kid. The new vibrancy of West Berlin and then the empty gray of the eastern counterpart.
There are black cattle standing around, the flora is decimated on one side of the fence and alive with grace on the other side. Every ten or twenty feet is a pile of cow paddy. This degeneration continues, until we realize we are just heading into more of this and turn back.
When we return across the barrier of the fence, we find that a city style van has parked there with a load of kids blowing off steam. They are at enough distance to give us need to cover up.
Toward the Wilderness:
We once again take the main road at the fork, but it is less like a main road. It needs high clearance. The vegetation is thick and the two tracks are full of rocks. I feel disappointed that it lacks glamping sites to return to later.
The road finds a stream and then the stream becomes the road. I get out and put the lockers into 4 four wheel drive. The traction helps.
We come across a little girl and an older person playing in the waters of the stream and cover ourselves loosely with clothing, as we slowly make the approach down the stream bed.
Just out of the creek bed there is camping setup a very good glamping site, occupied. We smile and wave greeting as we pass by.
We eventually come to a gate with a sign that says please, close. From here the road becomes even worse. I switch into 4×4 low. We trudge along piece by piece. There is a “looks like a road” off to the right, which may be a good glamping site. We lumber and bounce on.
I eventually come to a spot in the road to get concerned enough to get out and scout on foot. It looks fine. Ahead, it dips into the creek and out. It shouldn’t be too difficult.
As we dip into the stream bed and come out, we get hung up in the rocky bank. I had checked beforehand. It looked fine. We are stuck.
I give another go, but dig in deeper. The rocks are tall steps and the soil around them is wet soggy sand and slippery. It’s time to take a breath and to rethink this.
I get out, my nerves have taken off with me. Getting stuck in remote places, does that. I feel a little anxious, I know that I am hung up, in a difficult position, but I haven’t assessed and thought any solutions through. This may be simple, or it may be a really big hassle.
DF later tells me she was “freaking out.” It felt to her that we might flip backwards, as we nosed up on the steep incline. Well, we haven’t been out four wheeling in a while. The more you do it, the more knowledgeable and confident you get. Without practice, it tends to feel like a beginners rush again. My initial assessment was that this challenge looked good, tough, but doable.
This is remote, a bad place to get stuck or get damage, if damage isn’t enough. That is what the four wheel drive is for, getting away from things and getting out where others can’t go. I do know that I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve…Now, where’s that sleeve?
The day is getting on and cooling off. I put on a sweat shirt. I’ve never done something like this nude. It feels a bit naked, a bit vulnerable. Being freely nude has always seemed to always make things better. However this time, it doesn’t make this particular activity any better.
The truck’s rear tires had slipped over toward a big boulder, so its off of its footing and into muddy sand. This put the front traction on one tire and there is not enough grip to pull it out. I smell the rubber on the rocks from my nice new tires.
I just bought those new tires a day before. They are over inflated from the installation. I take all the tire’s pressure down to the twenty’s. I see where we are slipping and digging deeper and place some rocks there for traction and to even out the slope a bit. I’m careful to set them in a solid position. If my makeshift roadway disperses, I’ll probably slam into the big boulder with the side of the body, damaging the truck.
Taking a deep breath, I place the stick shift into second gear to ease off the torque. Slowly, I move forward, creeping out of the predicament.
My adjustments work just fine. I kick up some dust and leave more new tread marks, but it all works just like it’s supposed to.
We decide to get out and walk to get down the adrenaline and because we don’t want to get into another surprise. After getting past the creek, it is a pleasant road.
Not far, a broken gate and fence appear, marking the end.
After that, the old road becomes a designated hiking trail.
We decide to make camp where the truck sits. It is 3:40 pm and I’ve had enough driving. We don’t expect anyone else back here, except maybe our neighbors, the walkers with the female child.
About the time that the tent is pitched, we hear the threesome. Little girls are excited and vocal. Grandpa is quiet. DF grabs a something to wear and I wrap my kilt around me.
We have pleasantries with our neighbors. I ask questions about the Galiuros. The young father has been extensively into these mountains. He declares them his personal favorites, but this is his first time to this area.
He shares with us, that he loved the hike to Power’s Cabin. It is only about 5 miles from the trailhead. He had taken his daughter with him. There are two ridge lines out here that span the range, but in-between is a land full of what we are standing in, lush vegetation. I’m encouraged. My mind drifts into an image of the two ridges with heaven in-between.
He voices his concern for our solitude and they continue on towards the end of the road. DF and I go in the opposite direction. We are after a trail that we saw by the creek.
We end up at that “looks like a road” road thing and investigate. Back in the trees is an excellent glamping spot. It is level, has a fire pit and shady trees. It could also be a good group site. I love this place.
Just up a hill, there is a spot to overlook the tree tops on a lichen decorated rock. We see up the canyon, a glimpse of tomorrow’s destination.
Back at camp, DF warms up some curry soup. Meanwhile, I gather the good rocks and dig out and prepare a campfire for after the sundown. There is plenty of dry wood, which goes off with one match.
I read some Edward Abbey to her and she tells me about her archeology magazine’s news. We listen to the sounds of familiar desert birds, a nighthawk, a turtledove, and quail. The stars come out in-between the branches of the trees.
We crawl into a warm bed, with the fresh air circulating through the tent.
Tomorrow, we will explore this remote park-like bountiful canyon naturally. That will be our story for next week’s post.
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