Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Riding With Miss Katie

We were here before, are here now, and will most probably be here again because good friends were nice enough to invite us in the first place, take us under their wing, and show us the ropes in the desert around Brenda, AZ. Lynn and Jude, and their collective group of friends which we refer to as "The Class of Brenda High" have made our time here exciting, memorable, and just downright fun. The first time we were here two years ago, Linda, wife of the fabulously entertaining Farmer Don made us what we have since referred to as our "yearbook" of our stay here. It came complete with shots of all the individuals in the group, pictures of the places we rode to, parties we held in the campground, candid shots of the more colorful individuals in the group. All this was created "unbeknownst" to us, captions were added, and it was presented to us when we were ready to head out for parts unknown. It was a touching moment that we have relished ever since and we pull the "yearbook" out on a regular basis to enjoy it over and over.

So when Lynn and Jude went to pick up one of Jude's "oldest and bestest friends" (I think that's how she phrased it) for her first visit to Brenda, we knew the process would be repeated for another first timer to the group. And we were delighted to be a tiny part of her visit to Brenda. A ride was planned. That's what they do here; among all the other activities....they ride.

And what a day it was. Beautiful from the outset. We headed out to the backside of the Southern Cross Mine complex and explored there. We rode through scenic mountain passes, across some dusty flatlands (you can't appreciate the desert fully without tasting the dust) and then back into the hills to the Arizona Fish and Game "waterhole"- a man-made water collection and disbursement system to provide much needed water to game in the desert which attracts everything from the smallest bats and lizards to Big Horn Sheep and deer, and, who knows, maybe even a mountain lion on occasion. That was our lunch stop for the day. Circle the chairs instead of the wagons for lunch, munch a bunch, tell some stories, and maybe even laugh at someone whose chair falls over (and doesn't get hurt).

Then off to the next stop. The Bouse Fisherman. Not a petroglyph, but a geoglyph, or Intaglio, a drawing or impression made in the dark gravel of the desert some 400 years ago. It took some looking to be able to make out the entire figure of the fisherman, with his spear, the sun, the waves and the fish,but it's all there if you take the time and find the right angle from which to view it. In the area of the fisherman, we also found, some bird nests in the chollo cactus, a desert rat's nest and some ant nests.

We arrived back at camp after our fifty-some mile trek in time to celebrate the day with a happy hour in the tent. That served as preparation for grabbing a bottle (or a box if you will) of wine and hopping back on the bikes for a jaunt up the hill beside camp for a sunset ceremony. Being responsible adults, we surely didn't want to set off firecrackers in the dry desert, so Lynn came up with an ingenious solution- a bottle rocket made from a 2 liter diet coke and a tube of mentos candy (don't believe it? CLICK HERE). You'll see the dramatic eruption in the slide show if you pay attention.

As is the rule, we pretty much laughed until the sunset quieted things down with its grandeur. A wonderful day. It was great to see Jude and Katie enjoying each others company so thoroughly. And a betting man would guess that somewhere tonight Katie's probably paging through yet another yearbook from the Class of Brenda High.

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