When I can, I make the choice never to follow the same route. I don’t even like to return from someplace the same way. My preference is to visit different places than the places I have already seen. After all, there is so much to see or experience in this world. My philosophy is to take the road less traveled, the route that is unexplored.
Then again, I do allow myself to break that rule; after all, I am only human. Again this year, my husband and I, on our winter motor home trek westward returned to a favorite spot in the Imperial Valley Desert criss-crossing the California/Arizona borders. In that world, nothing is formal. One just parks the rig “snug up” against the Imperial Dam reservoir, a place of shifting sands, changing winds and daily fluctuations in water level.
This refuge offers us two weeks of solitude. There are no hook ups or complications other than those of choice. This place offers hiking, kayaking, biking, endless opportunities for exploration and adventure, little light pollution and new friendships. The winds this year were relentless. The sands blew, the water level in the reservoir by our rig fell to a new low and stayed that way for several days. Our kayak remained near the rig, high and dry awaiting the water’s return. The mud dried and cracked and sand accumulated everywhere.
And sand there was; inside the motor home, on the windowsills, thin coatings on the mirrors, counter tops, and the dashboard. On the exterior, sand coated the sides, the windshield and windows, the surfaces of the electric coils that connects to the tow vehicle. The car and bike were coated too. The sand layers can be erased, but the events of this year’s desert dwelling will be embedded in my mind forever. This year we did hit the “jackpot.”
I am a great believer in Kismet, or beshert or fate, whatever word works best for you. Somehow, people are there at the right time filling in the spaces. It is almost as if these people are “planted’ in the right place by some outside force, even when you think you are the only one in that place. Often on a hike or in a strange town, someone appears at the moment you face a fork in the trail or turn in the road and they provide the guidance to set you on track. It seems to work both ways, that we are there to help others at their right moment. Corny or not, it occurs often enough to keep me believing it is so.
This year, the fluctuating sands and low water brought new adventures on the trails and as the layers of sand accumulated we added new friendships that helped enrich our stay. The backgrounds of these people were as varied as the grains of sand. We shared our adventures nightly around a campfire or just sharing drinks and salsa or nuts.
These folks come from the all over the states, Canada and overseas. Some travel full time, some with pets aboard, some keep their older rigs or have the newest in the industry. As on the trail, we learn so much from each other and are never at the loss for words. The best thing is that after our two weeks are up, we can stay in touch via email or Facebook and perhaps meet again the next year.
It was fun to walk on the dried river bed and hike in areas that are not exposed when the water is high. After several days, the water did return to a high level. The kayak was put to use and we hiked to the distant mountains finding trails, seeking old mines, seeing the wildflowers in early bloom. We encountered a couple on that trail with whom we could share our discoveries and learn about their success rock hounding for Turquoise and other gems.
The two weeks fly on by. We drive the rig up the sloping road with some regret, headed for another desert, more new friendships and the constantly shifting sands. Return we will to repeat our quest for adventure and discovery in the ever changing desert.