Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ellie Takes a Hike


I spent some time on the Geocaching website this morning, trying to determine if there are any Geocaches within walking/hiking distance of us.  I found one with a title that included the word Arrastra. It seemed like it was a do-able hike or walk of about 2 miles from here, so I made the rounds this morning to see if anyone was up for the distance.  Janna and Mike had already taken off in a different direction, Jim was getting ready to refresh our water supply, and Gina was just getting ready to wash her hair. That left me, my phone, my trusty GPS and the dogs.  Off we went.

I pretty much followed a straight line the whole 2 miles, which meant down and up the steep sides of the many washes between here and there.  Finally, I came to the place in the picture above.  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the heck that circular, concrete structure could be, out here in the absolute middle of nowhere in the Arizona desert.  Ok, so it’s really only a few miles outside the little town of Bouse, but after all the time I spent hiking, it sure seemed like it was the middle of nowhere.  To the right of the area pictured was a pretty deep hole in the ground, deep enough that I was very glad I had the dogs on leashes.  Eventually, I found the Geocache and signed the log.  Later on, I looked up the word Arrastra on the internet and found that it is a structure used in the milling of ore. One web site described it, “Arrastras were first introduced into the New World by the Spanish in the 1500's.  To use the arrastra, ore was broken into walnut-sized chunks with a sledge hammer and placed into the circular milling area.  Three drag stones, chained to a post in the center of the milling area, were rotated by hand or mule.  The drag stones crushed the ore into a fine powder and water was added until a thick slurry was produced.  Mercury (quicksilver) was then introduced to the mixture which removed and amalgamated any gold found in the ore.” 

I have no idea if any gold was actually found in this area, but maybe if we make it back to the Bouse museum, I may find the answer there.  Someone certainly put a lot of work into building this interesting structure.  When the dogs and I got back to our camp, Jim was just returning with his second load of water, so we’re all set for a few more days.  We still do not have any set day to return to civilization, thank goodness.  I can relax and enjoy my wide open spaces for awhile yet.

This afternoon was spent relaxing and reading.  Janna and Mike went to dump their tanks and fill with fresh water today.  When they got back, they moved just a little ways down from us, in a slight depression where they may have less noise late at night.  Janna invited all of us to their place for dinner this evening, and what a wonderful treat it was.  If anyone thinks we are suffering out here in the “wilderness”, please be assured we are definitely not!  Janna prepared an absolutely wonderful meal that included grilled steak, garlic mashed potatoes, salad, asparagus and homemade bread.  And, for dessert, there were fresh strawberries and angel food cake.

The weather forecast promises even warmer, sunnier days ahead, yes, there is definitely no suffering going on here!


squawmama said...

Sounds like you had a great time out there looking for your treasure... and yes I think you aare living the high life out there in your own little oasis! Have fun & Travel safe!!!

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Did you ever believe that you would be boondocking for more than a few days before you started on this grid free adventure?

Now you can understand those of us who don't like to be parked on slabs all in a row, like some CG.

It sounds just lovely out there, and you have your friends nearby, so that is even better.

Happy Trails, Penny, TX

Speedy said...

How great that is. If I had been there Ellie I would have gone with you. I can't wait to hike in the dessert and see all the sights!

Somewhere in Time

Frerx Adventures said...

Hi Jim and Ellie, We sure love following your desert boondocking adventure!! This is definitely a part of this lifestyle we want in our future. Being green horns I do have a question...
Do you have to worry about snakes, scorpions and the like when you take these hikes? Anything you do in terms of clothing or 'accessorires' in that regard? I'm a pretty adventurous farm girl but we don't have those kinds of creatures to contend with here!!


Fred Wishnie said...

What's with the noise? I would have thought the silence would be deafening. :-)

Really glad you are enjoying it so much.