A nice walk in the desert to no where

1 Dec, 2017; Painted Rock Petgroglyph Site, Gila Bend AZ

Pick a direction and head out - I'm always interested in what turns up

At the south-east end of the BLM campgound at Painted Rock, there is a BLM road that heads south, eventually crossing other BLM roads.  

Every once in a while, I see these little balls on creosote bushes.  Perhaps someone out there can identify them - I think they might be cocoons or some kind of insect thing.  It looks like they're made of creosote leaves - but they don't look like a growth coming out of the bush itself.

The terrain here is pretty barren and flat with mountains in the distance.  Mostly I'm seeing creosote bushes, ?Rabbit Bitterbrush?,  fishhook barrel cactus, and an ocassional, not very healthy looking saguaro.  

Things green up around the frequent washes I'm crossing

From little washes only a feet across and barely a couple steps deep, to wide washes (maybe 30 feet across and 10 feet deep), these sometime waterways support grasses, mesquite, ironwood, palo verde and more that I can't identify.

Cattle chute, corrals and cistern for watering

This looks like a water pump with a pipe into the rock cistern

This trough surrounded the cistern on 3 sides with pipes to fill them from the cistern

A fire ring - although camping is not allowed here, the ashes were recent and I found a potato that wasn't even shriveled up yet -  so  - hmmm.

I decided to hike up the the top of a ridge of exposed volcanic rock before turning around.  Sometimes, when I hike, I get into a mindset of  "I wonder what's over that hill, or around that corner" and don't think to turn around until I'm really tired and stuck with having to trudge all the way back from wherever.  Now, I tend to pick a time frame for the hike and try to turn around mid-way.  

View back to the campground - hard to get too lost around here!

And a lovely sunset

Yesterday was too cloudy for a good sunrise or sunset - kind of like winter in the PNW - black to gray to black.  But this night, the partly cloudy sky made for a great sunset.  I watched it until the sky was dark and then made a small fire.  I don't do campfires very often but this just seemed like a good night to have a fire and enjoy the night.  The desert is very quiet, the moon is almost full - I love it here!

Perfect coals warming the night


  1. Hey Anne,

    Googled those balls and they are home for a midge larvae. What a great looking spot! Taking Casper south for almost two months this year. Leave on Friday - looking forward to some desert time myself! You headed to Anza Borrego this year? Cheers and happy holidays, Alisa

    "Ball-shaped leafy galls, about the size of walnuts, are common on stems. These galls are caused by a small gnat-like insect known as the creosote gall midge, Asphondylia auripila. The larvae of the midge live in these. The younger galls often appear green and older galls are brown. "

    1. Hi Alisa! Thanks so much for researching this - I'm glad to know what it is. I don't know what my plans are yet - I'm meeting some friends for the holidays in Q - after that, who knows. I'm tempted to go back to Anza Borrego after the incredible spring wildflower explosion I saw last year! Maybe I'll see you there!

    2. You never know - I don't think that I can stay until the bloom though. Have to get back to work eventually :-). I'll keep an eye out for you, and of course, Casper is hard to miss LOL.

  2. Hey Anne,
    Looks/sounds like a peaceful location. Good on you for using brain over brawn to get water into your reservoir. Amber (aka Backroads Vegan 😁). Hope you swing back through Tucson in a few months.

    1. Well, you know me - if I can use some gadget or techno-geekie thing, I'm all over it!!


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