After six weeks of
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!|
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.]