Monday, June 10, 2013

Not all who wander are lost, at least not for long

Nearly all of my internet time has been spent on a folding lawn chair outside the post office here at the park. There's an internet router inside and I could get a signal. It was slow but it was a signal. The weather, though, has turned hot, hot, hot. When I got back to Grace after work today it was 107 degrees. I don't care if it's dry heat, it's still hot heat and I'm not sitting outside in it for a couple of hours at a time. I'm a slow writer.

After six weeks of whining and complaining politely inquiring about doing something about getting internet elsewhere, today I was lent a booster that's supposed to, um, boost a signal from a newly-extended line and it appears to be working. It's slow but it's working, which lets me post now from the comfort of home. Thank you, PFMA (Petrified Forest Museum Association) and to Kymberly, for putting up with me and dogging this problem.

Sunday I hiked in the Painted Desert for a few hours as reconnaissance for a camping trip I'm doing in a couple of weeks. I've borrowed gear here and there and have enough stuff to get me through a couple of nights; I'll be limited only by the water I can carry. This is wilderness camping, no water, no electricity, no loo. This is one of my out-of-comfort-zone things I'm challenging myself to. Enough with living small. 

Here are some examples of what makes the Painted Desert so special to me:

I love this shot of a slab of petrified wood, looking almost shell-like, resting among scattered pebbles on the desert's sandy floor.

Just one of the slowly eroding formations in this spare but beautiful land.

Every turn brings new beauty in the Painted Desert.

Petrified wood scattered like rubble. It made me think of giants shooting craps against the butte reaching to the sun.

An arrowhead just lying there!
I was playing Moses in the desert after I lost sight of my beacon, the Painted Desert Inn, up on the rim somewhere. It was there and then it was not. I really must learn to read a compass and get some topo maps. So I was just tromping around, calculating how much water I had left and whether I would embarrass myself for calling for help IF I could get a cell phone signal, when I looked down and saw this arrowhead just lying there like someone tossed it down. I didn't have to dig it out. It was just there. This photo doesn't do it justice. It's a beautiful blue and green stone and nearly perfect. 

The problem I had is I couldn't take it with me. What I found had to stay where it was found until people smarter than I am can evaluate the site for other good things. I didn't have a GPS. No compass, no GPS. A boy scout I am not. All I could do is stand up from taking several shots of this gorgeous thing and take several more of the landscape as I moved in a counterclockwise rotation. 

Evidently I made my way out, avoiding public humiliation but not a good amount of personal because the Painted Desert Inn was right where I had left it, but I'd overlooked it out of stupidity, pretty much. 

Today I showed the photo above to the park's archeologist. I was so pleased with myself: "Look, Bill, look!" like an elementary school reader. If I heard him correctly and I hope I did, it's from the Archaic period, which means Old. Old like 8000 to 2000 years BC. The problem now is finding it again. I had nothing to mark it with, only the photos of the landscape circling it. I hope he recognizes the area and can send some of the many lucky summer interns out to sweep the area and bring it in. I'd like to brag a little.

Thought of the day:

Mistakes are the portals of discovery. (James Joyce)
[So I should be discovering a LOT.]