Today, we had only one “serious” mission: dump/fill. For those of you unfamiliar with this little RV delight, let me euphemize it by describing it as trading in old water for new.
You see, RV’s have at least three water tanks: Fresh, Gray, and Black. Fresh is what it says. Gray is somewhat benign “used” water like dishwashing rinses and down-the-shower-drain flows. Soapy stuff but not particularly obnoxious. Black now – – this is the evil stuff. Toilet flushings. Black water could gag a maggot.
And incidentally, it’s not black, it’s an insidious, threatening brown – – – but with texture. You get the feeling you could conduct biological warfare with this stuff. Might be true. WMD and all that. Are you gagging yet?
Long story short, we simply found a “dump station” (our camp has one), hooked up a 3-inch sewer hose to the station septic port, and opened large gate valves to get rid of our “old” waters. Then we re-filled the fresh water tank and voila! we became happy campers again.
What with setting up Howie to be moved, off-loading 70 gallons of varied sewage and on-loading 70 gallons of fresh water, then re-situating Howie back in camp – – this minor process took up well over an hour of our day. A camp neighbor came by and we BS’ed for at least another hour or two. And then there’s stuff like sitting, thinking, being quiet, getting a drink of water – – – you know, all that busy stuff you have to do when you camp.
But all this is just banal camp drivel. I needed to show you that life on the road is not ALL fun and games (but yes mostly it is). The real entertainment of the day, however, came from a hike on the Loop Ring Trail and a climb-crawl down some nasty stone chutes of Banshee Canyon.
Banshee Canyon is right near camp, and is named for the unearthly howling that ensues when desert winds play their music through exotic, intricate rock formations. The weathering in this place looks like a cross between the Goblins in western Utah and Bryce canyon, with a definitely spooky feeling in attendance. Striking.
The canyon trail negotiates some steep, nearly vertical rock chutes which would be un-navigable except by experienced rock climbers, except for the installation of multiple grab-rings in the most difficult passages. These are the namesake Rings in the trail title.
We spent a couple of hours patiently making our way down the chutes and around the Loop (it’s only a mile or so).
On the far side of the Loop, we found a dreaded devil cactus, with yet another cactus-wren nest safely ensconced in the cholla’s hideous embrace.
This Trail is definitely another must-see in the Preserve.
The evening presented us with one of the nicest selections of desert sunset artistry we’ve seen (and we’ve seen a lot of them for sure). The sky was full of mid-level strato-cirrus, and the moisture level up there must have been right on the dew-point, because the clouds kept forming, moving, dissipating, and re-forming with the upper-level winds. The visual result was simply outstanding.
Bottom-lit clouds stretched from horizon to horizon, north-south-east-west in golden/red profusion. Everywhere we looked, there was a different, dynamically-changing display. The phenomenon lasted for many, many minutes in the slanting winter sunset, and we soaked up every moment of it in amazed, head-swiveling reverence.
Even Howie was mesmerized, as you can see by his glassy stare.
After the light show was over, a fine barbecued rib-eye steak dinner put the cap on yet another fine day.