June 29, 2011
Finished with Superior we have decided to take the long route back to camp, like we would do anything different. We leave Superior heading east back into the desert. We are in search of the gaint saguaro cactus . We saw one or two heading down but have heard that just south of our current location is famous for them. We were hoping to head much further south to a the Saguaro National Park. After researching the park we discovered it is a strictly no drive park. You park your vehicle and they have buses that run through the park picking up and dropping off visitors to the various locations. There would be no place to keep Shyla with the heat in the triple digits. No worries though as we find plenty of these fabulous specimens for miles along the stretch of Hwy 177 and 77.
We find a side road that states there is a park ahead and feeling in a venturous mood and ready to stretch the legs for a spell we swing a quick left off the main road onto a side one. Now I know our motto is “Taking the Path Least Traveled” but sometimes I think we take it a little to far. Quickly the road went from paved to gravel to dirt track. The sign stated that camping was ahead but quite honestly anyone would be totally crazy to bring anything hitched to a vehicle down here. Driving down a pathway that is tossing the truck up and down like a milk-shaker, we begin to wonder if different parts of the country use different dictionaries. You would be lucky to call this track, and I am being generous with this word too, we are driving on a road. It looks more like for off road travel. We venture about 1/2 mile and then as it appears this is definitely not a park that is meant to be visited by any one other than the locals as the road suddenly and completely disappears we decide to call it quits. Something seems to continue but we are both in agreement that today is not the day to see where this path leads. Besides if the rusted refrigerator, washer, and bags of garbage are any indication of what lies ahead, it would seem best to turn around why we can and head back to the main road. Turning around was easier said than done. The ground here is not exactly the firmest and it would be easy to get stuck up to your eyeballs in the sandy ground. I don’t think anyone would be finding us any time soon if our truck suddenly decides to blow a gasket. Andrew decides in the midst of our rotation that this would be however the perfect place to jump out and take pictures. As you can see even with all his 6ft plus height he is a dwarf amongst these giants.
Of course there are many other smaller varieties that dot beneath this massive plants. I would have loved to have had a shovel handy and brought a few back for home.
As it is, our temperatures this summer are not that much lower. The main difference of course is the humidity but really the humidity has not been a big problem this year. Texas has been in state of drought this year with only a 1/3 of the usual rainfall in the spring. The ground and plant life is so dry and fires have been rampant all over.
Back on the road we continue our journey east and then head north back towards Globe, Az. It’s amazing where the mind and imagination can wonder when you let it. Ironically after talking about becoming buzzard bait trapped deep in the desert without a sole around we find ourselves after turn at here and there at an unusual memorial cemetery. Not quite sure what made us stop and take a look. I think for Andrew he was drawn to the iron wrought sign. For me it was the lack of vegetation. We realized that as we had been traveling today that we had not past a single cemetery. Pretty unusual. I guess when you live in arid conditions it makes more sense having memorials rather than cemeteries for the deceased.
Several miles further along we find ourselves looking at a very devastating image off in the horizon. As far as we can see the mountains no longer resemble their former selves. The sight we are looking at is hard to describe in words. It evoked a deep raw emotional response from us and since this is a family blog I will leave the comments we made out….but you get the picture. The mountains have been robbed of all vegetation as man with the help of machinery has cut and sliced robbing them of all the minerals and metals we find so precious. I don’t think of myself as an activist or do-gooder preaching that we go back completely to nature but looking at this sight before us make me wonder if humans have lost sight in what is really important. Society today has little conscience to how their actions effect anyone except themselves. It is a throw away society. Get it as cheap as possible, use for a few months, then throw it away for the latest model even if it still is functional. This thirst of ours to consume is what drives this destruction before us.
Okay back off my soap box our journey continues north on Hwy 77 . It is mid afternoon and the sun is on full blast as is the air conditioner. We approach a wayside picnic area and decide to stop for a bit to stretch the legs again. It has a small plague that describe the area as El Capitan Pass.
I caught this picture just as the sun went behind a cloud. Don’t let the dark skies in this picture fool you. The temperature in the truck was reading 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
It had one picnic table, minus the missing bench, overlooking the distant mountains. It looked as if at one point there were other tables but this site had seen better days. Just another example of the lack in funding as our “recession” continues to hang on.
Andrew caught a glimpse of something over the ridge a little ways down and grabs his camera to get a closer view. It would seem that someone has erected a small memorial here. Based by the symbols on the stone my guess is that it is for possible a man and wife. The Harley Davidson symbols leads me to believe that possibly they were to lovers who enjoyed riding the bike down this stretch of road, feeling the air sweep across their face. I can see how maybe they found this point especially inspiring. Maybe this is where he proposed???? We thought this was very touching and a beautiful place to honor two individuals.
On the last stretch heading back home we stop once more to take in the desert views before retiring to our home away from home. It has been a beautiful drive today and we have lots of memories to take with us. I would love to come visit this region again in the cooler months when it might be safer to be outside for lengthier period of times without fear of dehydration or heat stroke.