This winter, with the arrival of Finley and Joaquin, has kept me closer to home than I anticipated. Nevertheless, I did get out to Anza Borrego, Joshua Tree and Organ Pipe. The flowers are blooming in some of my favorite spots but I am readying myself for a trip to Big Bend National Park in Texas, a place I've wanted to go to since my late teens (in other words - a long time ago).
I'm looking forward to leaving. Between legal issues, Homeowner's Associations, my health, and the tax code, it's been a stressful few months. I'm hoping I can quickly put all the bullshit behind me as soon as I hit the road.
I have a few new camping items that I'm enjoying. I have a new weather radio that also charges my iPhone and it's a great addition. My favorite item, however, is the Grace Digital Audio Eco Extreme Rugged All Terrain Speaker Case. It's small with great sound, indestructible, and I can listen to music without earphones whether in camp or while hanging out in the camper shell.
My tentative (it always changes- ah spontaneity) trip details are the following:
3/9 Bog Springs Campground in the Santa Rita Mountains of Southeastern Arizona in the Coronado National Forest. At 5200 feet it might be a bit cold and if it's snowing (highly unlikely) there are several BLM and other campgrounds in that part of the state- including Chiricahua National Monument and environs. It's a long 507 mile drive out there so I'll be leaving early.
3/10 Aguirre Spring Campground - I'll be staying in the Organ Mountains outside of Las Cruces, NM. I'm a fan of Las Cruces and the surrounding Chihuahua Desert and this BLM campground gets great reviews. It's 307 miles to that spot.
3/11 Chisos Basin Campground- Big Bend National Park. I'll arrive at my destination! I actually had to make reservations months in advance to get a spot out here as March is supposed to be a particularly beautiful month in Big Bend. There is currently a severe water shortage in the area and visitors are limited to using 5 gallons a day. I find that amusing because I typically use 7.5 gallons about every 5 days (in addition to bottled water that I bring along for hiking). The drive here will be about 400 miles and I'll stay 3 nights. the sightseeing and hiking is supposed to be spectacular. There are desert, mountain and river hikes.
Interestingly, Woody Guthrie spent time in Big Bend in 1921 looking for gold. I saw his bio movie, "Bound For Glory" again last night and he is a true hero of mine for his music, compassion and idealism. His vision of what America is and should be still inspires me and it coincides with my beliefs about the land itself. Of course, he was also a fellow ramblin' man.
3/14 Las Cruces NM. I'll be ready for a long shower and I'll be spending Saturday night in a motel in downtown Las Cruces. A southwestern meal will probably sound just about right then too.
3/15 Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, NM. A short 80 mile drive to my next destination but it will give me time to spend a day in the magnificent White Sands National Monument.
3/16 Cochise Stronghold Campground in the Dragoon Mountains of southeastern Arizona. Is this my favorite campground in the West? Maybe- it's my fourth visit in 3 years. This spot is about 300 miles west from Alamogordo, NM.
3/17 Burro Creek Campground - This is another favorite spot (for me and dozens of wild burros) and is about 315 miles northwest from Cochise. This is from the website.
The Burro Creek Recreation Site is situated along Burro Creek within a very scenic Sonoran desert Canyon at an elevation of 1,960 feet. This peaceful area has long been a favorite stop of travelers on nearby Highway 93. Visitors here are invariably fascinated with the contrast between the deep blue pools and tree-lined banks of Burro Creek, and the saguaro-studded hills and cliffs of its desert setting.
Sounds like a great St. Patrick's Day, doesn't it? That will be last night on the trip.
I'll leave you with some great lyrics of Woody Guthrie:
Pastures of Plenty
It's a mighty hard row that my poor hands have hoed
My poor feet have traveled a hot dusty road
Out of your Dust Bowl and Westward we rolled
And your deserts were hot and your mountains were cold
I worked in your orchards of peaches and prunes
I slept on the ground in the light of the moon
On the edge of the city you'll see us and then
We come with the dust and we go with the wind
California, Arizona, I harvest your crops
Well its North up to Oregon to gather your hops
Dig the beets from your ground, cut the grapes from your vine
To set on your table your light sparkling wine
Green pastures of plenty from dry desert ground
From the Grand Coulee Dam where the waters run down
Every state in the Union us migrants have been
We'll work in this fight and we'll fight till we win
It's always we rambled, that river and I
All along your green valley, I will work till I die
My land I'll defend with my life if it be
Cause my pastures of plenty must always be free
This will mostly be a journal of my travels. I may include other items that interest me. Feel free to join in.