Friday, March 31, 2017

LaPosa LTVAs – Alive with Beautiful Blooms, A Second Set of Snake Eyes, and Coyote Cries

Like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, I have learned that I don’t have to look much further than my own backyard to find true happiness, beauty, or my heart's desire.  Such is the case with my family's winter retreat in the Sonoran Desert at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) La Posa Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs).  Its thousands of acres offer panoramic views, varied terrains of hiking and ATV trails, and a wonderful window through which to watch flora and fauna.

Mom joins me regularly for a 5-7 mile hike within La Posa South (Dad only comes about half the time).  It’s our 2+ hour dose of spiritual fulfillment.  It is our time to reflect, to relish the solitude, and marvel in the wonders of nature.  And the desert never disappoints!  Each day we take a different trail and witness the desert coming alive.  Unlike our prior two winters here, the earthen ground is covered with a blanket of green grasses and white, purple, and yellow wildflowers.  

Multi-colored wildflowers outside our door

White button flowers and grasses dot the earth's floor

The blooms of the creosote and brittlebush just radiate sunshine.  The ocotillo transforms its bleak, brown, dormant branches to green-leaved arms boasting blazing red tubular buds.  The desert globemarrow offers a petite orange blossom.  And there are so many more landscape treasures for which this stuffed rat knows not their names.   But each day I speak to them, complimenting them on their beauty and thanking them for sharing their wonders with me. 



Close up of an Ocotillo bloom

Ball nipple cactus



First time I've seen blooms on a cholla cactus here in Q

Globemarrow with pretty, petite daisy-like flowers nearby


The insects, reptiles, and birds also keep us entertained, from lizards sunbathing on rocks, to ants busily collecting food for their colonies, to doves singing their love songs.  A recent hike during late afternoon along Trail 565 provided us several exciting adventures.  First, we spotted a hawk sitting on her nest built within the “elbow” of a saguaro cactus arm.  She was not happy that we were nearby.  So she called out to her mate, who immediately came to her aid to protect their home and soon-to-be babies.  Just a short distance away, a grove of mesquite trees offered shade to a threesome of turkey vultures.  Shortly thereafter we were given a warning hiss from a diamondback rattlesnake just a few feet off the trail.  Obviously, he saw us before we saw him.  Unlike Dad, who finds the need to take extended video, Mom and I just grabbed one quick pic and hurried on our way.

The diamondback snake we encountered

A close-up of Mr. Diamondback.  Then we speedily got out of its way.

Mama Hawk sitting on her nest in "elbow" of Saguaro

Mr. Hawk coming to protect her

Turkey vultures sitting in nearby grove of trees

The soulful cries of the coyotes have filled the nighttime air several times recently.  Mom and I saw their paw prints and poop specimens heading off a trail.  But we haven’t spotted them “in person” since we arrived in early January.

The desert can be unforgiving with its heat, wind, and dust.  Just yesterday we had sustaining winds of 50+ mph for the entire afternoon and into the evening.  (I thought I was back in the Poconos during Hurricane Sandy!)   Mom worked all morning to clean the rig, only to get a new layer of dust covering everything she just cleaned.  

But life is not Utopia--we must accept the good and the bad in everything.  For those of us willing to accept and tolerate these less appealing attributes of the desert, it rewards us greatly!   

Backyard Sunrise

Sunset in Dust Storm

We say goodbye to Quartzsite for another year, thankful to the great Creator for the riches and artful masterpieces he bestows on us each and every day during our seasonal visits.

We head to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon tomorrow, and expect much cooler temperatures and even a bit of snow.  We start work on Monday for the Grand Canyon Association.  We are excited to begin another chapter in our book of life on the road, exploring and experiencing more wonders of our great Country!

Talk to you soon!


  1. Great blog. Who knows when we'll see the desert so colorful again. First time for us in 7 years!

  2. Great post! Love the dessert flowers! Would love to see them in person some day! Can't wait to hear about Grand Canyon! Safe travel!