Lost Dutchman State Park – Mar 15-16; my first jumping cholla experience!


Plans change due to too much beauty

As rigs were pulling out after the Escapade rally, I noticed that one of our neighbors had left a chalk for their double axle tires (not a cheap thing to replace).  By polling all the surrounding remaining neighbors, I got enough information about the couple (All I could remember was their first names and their next camping destination), to track down a phone number for them.  They were going to be at Lost Dutchman State Park for awhile as camp hosts, and I had planned on going right by there on my way to Roosevelt Lake and the Tonto National Monument. 


So, we traveled to Lost Dutchman, planning on dropping off the chalk and continuing on.  But, when we got to the park, it was beautiful; nestled at the base of the Superstition Mountains, this is a great campground – but very popular and almost impossible to get campsites.  Unless, you get there early and snag a spot in the overflow area.  Now, sometimes overflow camping is just a spot in a parking lot – but here, the spots are just as nice as everything else.  And, it was so nice that we stayed 2 days.


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The very bad Jumping Cholla

Scruffy did not know about Jumping Cholla;  he does now!  We were walking back from the visitor center just enjoying the scenery when suddenly Scruffy was screaming and whirling about like a crazed thing.  We’re not sure exactly what happened but Scruffy had a large Cholly part stuck on his back and a smaller one stuck in his bleeding nose and mouth – and he was just hysterically jumping, running and twisting about.  It took Julie several tries to bravely grab him and quiet him down – and in doing so, she got a small Cholla part stuck in the back of her hand.

Fortunately, Scruffy calmed down as soon as Julie contained him - and he was very stoic as I used first the leash, and then the pliers on my pocket multi-tool to remove the Cholla parts from his body and then Julie’s.  I got as many spines out as I could with pliers – it took Julie 2 days to get the rest out with tweezers.  Both of us (probably Scruffy too) had lots of very fine hair-like spines on our hands and wrists – difficult to impossible to get out even with tweezers.  Poor Scruffy, he was just learning to trust us touching his back end when this had to happen!


Sometimes the ‘wee lad’ gets a ride – after a long walk, if there are too many lurking Cholla’s or if the area looks ‘snakey’.


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The day ends peacefully


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