What a difference sunshine makes.
No one is stirring, except for birds and other woodland creatures, as Bridget, Spike, and I climb the hill on the other side of the campground road. We’re staying off the dirt road because now it’s a mud road. Everything is fresh from yesterday’s rain and snow. It’s surprising how the variety of plants changes as you ascend a hill. I let the crew go off-leash and Spike takes the lead. Of course, he takes us over the hill and through the woods to the pond. It’s a good, long walk.
On the way back to our campsite we meet Ken and his dog.
Ken is from New Hampshire. He has a Class C motorhome and a motorcycle he pulls behind it on a trailer. He’s not old enough to retire, so he’s living on savings right now while he travels around looking for a place to land, that is, to buy a home and get a job. The Northeast is too expensive, he tells me, especially the taxes.
His fourteen-year-old golden retriever, Scooter, is friendly.
She and the crew partake in a group kiss. Ken tells me he had another aging golden retriever that developed a lot of health problems. “I had to have her put down a few months ago. It’s been hard on Scooter.” He pauses. “And me.”
Ken camped recently near the town of Cottonwood, south of here, until it got too hot.
He mentions the benefit that campers, especially full-timers, appreciate. “It was nice. The town is only about four miles away so you could get groceries.” I point to an animal track in the mud and ask Ken what he thinks it is. “Oh, that’s probably elk. It looks too large to be a deer.” In the campground? I can’t picture it.
The crew and I return to our campsite and set out in the PTV for Flagstaff.
Spike and Bridget are tired and sleep all the way. I plan on the three of us taking a walking tour around the University and San Francisco Street area, before stopping at Wal-Mart for groceries. However, when I get to that area the traffic is so frantic that I lose interest in finding a place to park and walk. I spy Wal-Mart and pull in.
What? A Wal-Mart with no food?
That seems very strange, but it doesn’t cramp my style. I buy two pairs of cropped pants for summer wear, a new quilt with matching shams for the BLT, a set of knives, and a pack of washcloths. I look for a monocular but they don’t have any. Neither do two sporting goods stores near the University – all sold out. Well, I guess I’ll have to order online.
I stop at a Basha’s supermarket.
I don’t get half the items on my list. The prices are so steep I’d rather go without than pay them!
On the way back to Willard Springs, I scan the forest on both sides of the highway.
I look for elk, but I don’t expect to see any, it being the middle of the day. I do see a pickup truck parked alongside the road with a hand-painted sign, “Elk Jerky.” Last night I read that elk can be seen near Mormon Lake which isn’t far from here. It’s what is called an “intermittent lake.” Even if the lake is gone, maybe elk are there! Hmmm . . . Sounds like an excuse for a picnic tomorrow . . . .
More photos of trees, woodland plants, the pond, and, of course, the crew![slideshow]