Monday, October 03, 2011

Campaign Creek treasure hunt, part 1

Yes, this is just part 1. There were complications, as usual. One was my fault, and one was the weather.

There were a few nice clouds around when I got out there. There was rain in the forecast, though, and it was early in the day.

I got out there earlier than usual. Before lunch. I was planning to eat some of the food bars in a box in my backpack. Before I left the house, I checked to be sure that I had plenty of water, that all batteries were charged, that I had all the maps I might need, etc., etc. But I didn't look in that box.

Forty-five minutes later and those clouds have grown and are dropping some rain.

The first photo point I came to was easy to find and was right next to the road. The creek bed seems to have changed a lot since the original photos were take in '96. There were some features in the backgrounds of the originals that helped me get in the right spots for the photos, though.

There are some interesting rock formations in this area. Oh, and clouds are forming on this side of the lake, now.

I'm really glad I've been doing this photo point stuff. I've seen lots of beautiful areas that I probably never would have visited otherwise. I hope they don't run out of places that need to be photographed.

The next group of photo points was at the bottom of a hill. The road looked really steep from the top. Skid doesn't seem to mind coming to rescue me when I'm stuck somewhere within 20 miles of his house, but he might not be too enthusiastic about going all the way out to Roosevelt Lake. From the top of the hill, it was only 1 mile to the furthest photo point. An easy walk, so I left the truck at the top of the hill and walked. At the bottom of the hill, I decided to go after a photo point that was about 75 yards upstream of the road crossing first. It was beautiful along there. Trees completely covered the area, but there was plenty of room to walk. There were pools of water every once in a while, but they weren't stagnant. Water was flowing through them. There were lots of large birds flying around. I couldn't get a good look at them through the trees. I'm pretty sure one was a hawk. I saw a pair flying together that reminded me of woodpeckers, but I didn't get a very good look at them. I did hear woodpeckers now and then, though. I heard bird calls the whole time that I didn't recognize. Most of the time I was up there, there was a nice breeze blowing through.

Fish in a puddle.

The photo point that I was searching for turned out to be one of those difficult ones. I think the creek bed had changed so much, it just wasn't recognizable. There weren't any mountain ridges or such in the backgrounds of the reference photos to use as a reference. The description mentioned standing on some bedrock to take the photo, but there wasn't any bedrock to stand on any where near where the photo point should have been. I finally decided that the bedrock was now buried in sand and took the picture from where I thought I should. I didn't arrive at that decision lightly, though. I walked up and down that creek bed several times. One thing that made that difficult was that a cow had died near there. At least, I assume it was a cow. I didn't want to see whatever it was. For a 20 yard stretch the stench was so bad I held my breath even though I was panting from scrambling back and forth. On one of the downstream walks during my search (and at a spot where the air was fresh and breathable), I decided I needed some nourishment to continue my search. That's when I discovered I was carrying an empty box of food bars. Well, there had been other developments during the search. As I walked up and down the creek bed, I noticed that it had suddenly gotten darker. I was so intent on my search, though, I didn't look up. At least, not until I heard a loud clap of thunder. I had been thinking that I might be able to continue getting pictures on an empty stomach, but I also thought about the fact that I had to drive in the creek bed for a few miles to get out of there. There's a ranch house in that creek bed, and they've built massive concrete, sand, and steel walls to keep the creek out when it floods. If it did flood, I didn't want to be there.

I need something for scale here. That crescent shaped rock is about 5 feet tall.

Remember that I left the truck at the top of a hill? Remember the thunder? The closer I got to the truck, the more exposed I felt, and the faster I climbed. When I finally got to the truck, gasping and dripping with sweat, I was anxious to be surrounded by steel with A/C blowing on me. Then a large wasp decided that it wanted to land on me. I don't know why it wanted to do that. I've had honey bees fly around my waist bumping into me now and then, but they go away after a while. I didn't know what the wasp would do, though. I thought about jumping into the truck with my backpack on, but I wasn't sure I would fit like that, and while I was trying to squeeze in the wasp would be able to land on me and have it's way with me. So I bopped it with the photo point notebook. Maybe not the best idea, but I was hoping that might scare it away. Armed bugs don't seem to scare easily, though. They just get mad. It came back at me and seemed agitated now, and more insistent about landing on me. Thunder rumbled through the surrounding canyons. Sweat burned my eyes. My legs trembled from hunger. I decided that this was no time to be messing around with a silly wasp and bopped it hard. While it was on the ground I mashed it and got in the truck. I felt a little bad about stomping on it but I would have felt worse if it had stung me or if I had been blasted by lightning while dancing around my truck. I didn't get a good look at it. It wasn't a tarantula hawk. It looked a little like a yellow jacket but about twice as big.

I found a crested saguaro.

I drove to Boston's Bar at Grill at Roosevelt Lake. It was a little high priced but was good food. I hung around in that area trying to decide if I should head back up Campaign Creek for a while. I could see that it was raining up there, though. No sense in pushing my luck. I got home long before sunset for a change. Can't wait to go back and finish. Click below to see all of the pictures.


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