Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ant Bites, Dog Bites, and the FBI

To my one inquiring mind:

Last Thursday after work Jeff and I were contemplating what to do with our weekend and decided to spend a couple nights camping along the Verde river, specifically we wanted to check out the Verde hot springs.  We got food, water, gas and a couple of movies and drove the 2 hours to the campground near the springs.  We found a nice spot away from the other campers right on the river and set up camp.  Its important to explain the kind of place this is to get the full picture of what happened later.  It is in the middle of no where far from any town or even a gas station along a dirt road.  The hot springs are a 25 minute hike from the campground and attract a very odd hippie crowd.  Not to so you can't be a hippie and not be odd.  Anyway, so we set up camp, I cooked dinner and Jeff started a fire.  In the hustle and bustle of all this activity I step right into a red ants nest.  Some how one got all the way up to my neck before I noticed and bit me with all its little fury.  I never really thought an ant bite hurt that much, but this one did.  I only tried to avoid the nest (right in my path between my stove and my water source) for 10 minutes before I forgot and stepped in it again.  This time I got a bite right in the calf.  I got through dinner with no other bites from angry insects, but if you can believe it, those bites hurt long into the night.  In fact I woke up at 3 a.m. and it still hurt.

So the next morning we wake up to an even fuller campground with weirdos sleeping on the ground all over the place.  I may sound judgemental, but its true.  We ate a breakfast of Life cereal and milk, my favorite, packed our swim suits and water and headed to the trail head  going to the hot springs.  We hiked along the river for about 15 minutes when we could see the remnants of hot baths and one palm tree on the other side.  At this point we weren't sure if there was going to be a bridge across or if it was a forging sort of thing.  We came up off the river onto a dirt road (only permits aloud) and saw a white suburban parked just off the road.  As we were walking up a hound dog came toward us barking so I started talking to him to calm him down.  He instead came right up to me and bit me in the leg, well technically my butt.  He ripped my favorite pants too!!  An old man comes around from the car wearing camo, a civil war hat, long hair and a beard.  Jeff told the guy to restrain his dog because he had just bit me.  The man proceeded to tell me it was my fault, that I snuck up on him and I should of talked to the dog to tell him I was there.  When we told him we had he then started to get really mad telling us there was a huge ranch stretching 100 miles and we weren't aloud there.  Mind you this is a very popular National Forest destination and there was a sign about 10 feet behind us saying so.  It only got worse from there.  Jeff was getting madder and madder and the crazy man saying stranger and stranger things.  I started to get very nervous he was going to hurt us so we opted to turn around and go back than to risk continuing and have to pass crazy again when returning.  It was very disappointing to have made it that far just to turn around, but I needed a first aid kit and some new pants so we turned back to the truck.  We headed straight out and 3 hours later arrived at a forest service office were we reported the incident.

Turns out it was a good thing we came back to civilization.  Jeff's entire family had left message after message on our phones worried because they didn't know where we were.  Jeff's mom had got a message we had left a week before saying we were coming down for a visit so she thought we were headed that way not aware of how old the message was.  When we didn't show up for dinner they got worried and called everyone trying to find us.  Jeff's mom even called her FBI friend who was prepared to start a search if we didn't show up by morning.  His parents had taken off of work Friday to come search for us and his brother was on his way to Payson (where we have been working) to start the search.  Luckily we got the bagillion messages before to much damage was done.  Jeff and I are always going off into the woods with little notice and without informing anyone so people are used to this, so we found it strange that such an uproar was started, but we also felt very loved grateful such an effort was made.  The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing in Flagstaff where phone service is readily available, the dogs are nice and there are very few ants.  Strange, but entertaining weekend to say the least....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I got floor today!

     Sometimes at work I feel bored, over worked, and completely unsure.  (Usually not all at the same time)  But sometimes when I really feel like I am discovering something I get a sense of Yes!  This is why I do this!  I started on a new project last week working on sites along State Route 260 near Payson, AZ.  I was assigned to work at a site on a hill top with what looked like 2 rooms/houses with masonry walls visible on the surface.  I started excavating one of them with a daunting feeling due to the immensity of my "unit" and the fact that I was to dig it alone, or at least mostly.  During the course of last week and the 2 days of this one I slowly took the dirt down 20cm at a time encountering hard clays and tons of rocks to slow my progress, but today I finally hit the floor!  Along with 2 manos lying right on top, Triumph!  The change from the charcoal filled rocky roof fall soil to a blaringly gray floor was glorious. Now I have a beautiful 3 foot high wall and the makings of a very nice floor, which is not usually the case.  It has taken me weeks to finally reach the floor in other houses I've worked in, but I have never done a rock walled structure so I was totally at a loss as to what to expect.  Granted I have only begun to uncover the floor and I will encounter many more obstacles while finishing, it's the small things like looking at a floor of a house not seen by anyone for 1000 years that makes the aches and pains all worth it.