Cat-tail State Park near Havasu Lake City is a very pretty place. Quiet too, except for the raised fireside voices of the semi-intoxicated. And we didn't see any mountain lions, nor cougars.
However, the first morning when we got up, we checked the swept area around the camper (if you don't yet know how ridiculous we can get, check out the Mono Lake story), then checked the soles of our shoes, double-checked the prints, back to our shoes. No, unless Timberland now makes a boot with 'hint of canine' soles, there was something else around here.
When we first arrived, we got talking to the Park (st)Ranger ('breasts'), who warned us about coyotes and other flora and fauna in the area. He went on to describe how he went outside at his home one evening, to see why his 'outside dog' was making such a racket, only to discover that a large male coyote had backed his 70kg labrador into a corner. Shouting to scare the animal away (the animal being the coyote, not the labrador; apparently he liked the labrador), it duly scarpered, and, according to his story, hurdled a 6 foot fence that surrounded his yard.
Year on year the coyotes are getting bolder and more aggressive, especially in the semi-urban areas of California where the cities are eating into their habitat. Cue lesson on managing the top of the food chain etc. I'd say bring back the wolf throughout the lower United States, but that would only result in a lot of dead wolves. We had an interesting lecture from one of the aforementioned semi-intoxicated campfire storytellers about what he could do to a 600lb bear with an elephant gun. Charming fella.
|There's something: kill it!|
On the second evening at Cat-tail we walked down to the lake beach to take a few photos of Venus rising over the escarpment, when we saw a dog walking on its own, along the water's edge, not 30 feet from us.
Understand that it was dusk, so it took us a minute or two to realise that this was no ordinary poodle.
Scrambling around for the cameras, we got off one decent shot (without an elephant gun) in the sequence.
Very exciting. We feel somewhat privileged. Dangerous pests #coyotes might be, but they once said the same about the wolf…
We left Cat-tail yesterday morning, heading south. The weather is due to turn cold in the middle of the week (down to freezing at night), so we intend to find somewhere just a couple of degrees warmer if we can. We followed the Colorado river towards Parker, AZ. Our chosen route took us through the Colorado River Indian Nation lands. This is one of the oldest reservations anywhere, and also, judging at least by our journey, one of the most productive and successful.
This is the home of Navajo and Hopi, amongst others, and although this area does not escape the ubiquitous casino, what's more striking is the miles and miles (hundreds of thousands of acres) of tidy farms and healthy looking crops; cotton, corn, other green stuff, even sheep. All watered by an intricate network of aqueducts fed by the Colorado (despite it losing its blood and thunder due to being dammed upstream to supply the people of Los Angeles).
All this might not sound incredibly impressive, unless you've seen the pitiful state of 'white America' around it. Two nations, indeed, and this reservation example perhaps says something for the value of communal farming in an area short of critical resources.
So far, our journey south has brought us to Quartzsite, gem and stone capital of North America. It looks more like a huge flea market to me, but we're assured that in a week or two the area will be filled with 100,000 rockhounds from all over the world.
Given the time of the day, when we'd finished almost buying somebody else's junk, we stopped for the night at an RV Park nearby, in a town called Brenda.
[I'm sorry, but Brenda? I mean, nothing against Brendas, but with all the words in the world, even women's names -- if that's what your forefathers demanded -- why Brenda? Why not Annie? Or Arnie? Not Brenda…]