Hot Bog Road #7

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At the bar in Denio, we drank some tequila and beer, while chatting with the bartender about our Desert retreat plan. She suggested we visit the hot spring off of Hot Bog Road. We ended up settling our camp a 20 minute walk away from the springs, just against the barbed wire fence that marked the wildlife refuge. Over the week we stayed there, we only saw a few people from a far, who visited the springs and some camped a night or two. We had no desire to see people at all, and stayed away.

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Our campsite

Sam got the sunburn he had wished for, making up for the lost sun of Newport Oregon. I decided his new name for the trip was ‘Future-Man’. He sometimes did and sometimes did not appreciate this new title. Yet I couldn’t help myself, due to certain discussions and Sam’s wearing of my sunglasses collection. Those sunglasses gave him a look right out of Alexander McQueen’s futuristic fashion collection in Vogue.

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Future-Man in his post-sunburn look hanging out with Bella.

Our chosen site ended up being in perfect view of a water hole, frequented by the skittish and elusive Prong Horn Antelope. The hole also brought regular visits from our new friends, the wild mules, and a horse.  The second day we were there, I heard the unmistakable and unexpected “Hee, haa” of a mule, and there they were. I fell in love with them. There was one pair, always together, probably siblings, that would graze around our campsite. The two of them were a comical looking pair, with clown like painted faces, black, white and grey, with those huge mule ears. I thought of them when I lay in bed at night, I wondered where they slept. . . I wondered, how did they get out here and who their ancestors were?  I wished I could know more about them.  The mules themselves were very curious. You couldn’t get too close, but they found our songs and commentary very interesting. Whenever I saw them I would call out, “Muuuuuuules!” That always got their ears perked up. Late one night Sam made a fire that, unknowing to him, attracted the mules. Strange sounds in the darkness scared Sam so badly, that he shot into the air in attempt to scare the midnight monster away. This did not scare them away and in fact a few minutes later they came even closer. It was then that Sam recognized the snorts of our mule friends. The shot gun shot had not scared them off, but had just inflamed their curiosity further.

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At the watering hole, on the left is our painted faced friends.

One of our mule visitors, he was always alone when we saw him.DSCF0447
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Daily I walked off, hunting for rabbit.

We often saw these Jackrabbits that I daily attempted to shoot for dinner, with no success. I really enjoyed slowly  stalking across the desert in the quiet. It was a meditation and a treasure hunt. I could do it for several hours without realizing how much time had passed. Even though I didn’t get a rabbit, it was a wonderful experience.

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Isn’t he gorgeous! At least I got a good photo, but where the hell is the shotgun when you need it? 

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Sam doing some target practice with our new shotgun we got in Burns.

 

Sam and I did not grow up with guns and had zero experience with guns until just recently. Over the years we had discussed and planned on buying a gun of some sort to take traveling. We are often driving, hiking and camping in remote areas. We worried about hitting and injuring animals on the road, and felt it was irresponsible of us not to carry a gun for humane purposes. We also felt we needed a gun for self defense. So, we recently purchased a Ruger LCR .38 special revolver. It is small enough to take on backpacking trips and keep within reach of our bedside at night. We took a basic safety course that also covered the gun laws. Gun laws. . . spooky stuff. Watch out second amendment!

The desert was quiet and we didn’t see much of anyone apart from our mule friends, the rabbits, and a few far off birds. I was lucky enough to see these two lizards with my camera in my pocket.

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Back in Newport, we bought Bella a toy lizard to prepare her for the desert, here’s the real thing, a Large Spotted Leopard Lizard.

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This is a Desert Horned Lizard. They can squirt blood from their eye corners, stab with its horns, and bite in self defense. I can’t do that. . . so I guess I’ll keep a gun handy instead.

There were many beautiful skies to see, here some of our desert scenes:

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Bella very at home in the desert.

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A very impressive sunset had us wandering around in the orange glow.

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Sam adding to his firewood pile 

More to come later in ‘Hot Bog Road Continued #8’. . .

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