I walk slowly, easily distracted, inspecting little things along the way and thus this was a short long walk to the black mountain within sight of my Ogilby camp.
On the drive between Anza-Borrego and Quartzsite I stayed a few days on open and mostly empty desert managed by BLM just west of Yuma, Arizona. One morning—OK it was 11:30 because I’m a slow morning person—I took a walk to the little ridge that looked like black rock.
The semi-sandy soil is littered with small rock and I am easily sidetracked looking closely at the many colors. Lots of quartz, granite and many unidentifiable being disguised under layers of dark manganese varnish. Some rocks glitter and shine. One piece, a dark shiny charcoal color that is heavy could be hematite. When rockhounding I look for the unusual, a color, shape or texture that stands out from the crowd. I am rewarded with blue kyanite with its flat shiny planes. I was absorbed with the rocks until distracted by the long whistle of a train in the distance that somehow seemed to belong to the desert.
The vegetation is sparse and spread far apart, each trying to survive and absorb what little water comes to this arid land. The Palo Verde are often found along a dry wash that will occasionally run with water.
I moved on towards the black mountain but soon my eye was attracted to another unusual color and shape. Could it be? OMG, two pottery sherds lying side by side. I stoop to touch them and visions of people of the past living in this harsh desert environment come to me. I can’t help myself, I pick them up and they fit together like pieces in a puzzle. I can see where fingers have smoothed the clay. Then I put them back. A special gift, I only take photos and memories with me.
Other evidence of people from a not so distant past are also found in the desert. Rock stacked fire rings tell where more recent campers have passed the time. Wonder when those will be considered “artifacts” and if future generations will ponder why people came to this quiet land.
An hour later, with stomach grumbling, I begin a circuitous route back to camp. I saw a bowl in a wash and thought to pick it up as litter but then noticed water collected in the bottom so left it for the animals and birds that I’m sure have found it. And with eyes still on the rocks I found a quartz crystal.
Ok, I’ll admit it, I sometimes gather rocks off public lands. I’m a rockhound and like to decorate my Yarnell yard with rocks from my travels. I don’t haul big rocks and I don’t take artifacts. Shhh, don’t tell anybody, OK?
Geogypsy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com