New Campsite, New Hike

Coming late to the party here at the BLM’s Imperial Dam LTVA (long-term visitor area) near Yuma, AZ, I had to take an available campsite from the handful remaining. But over the weeks, I kept my eye out for a better spot vacated by someone leaving early (season here ends April 15). Finally, patience paid off and got a spot I will stay at until I leave here in late February (my third campsite here). This one overlooks one of the deep, arroyo canyons with a nearly unimpeded view of the mountains beyond. Too bad photographs do not convey well what the human sees, relative to distance and perspective. In reality, these mountains are much taller and closer than the photo would suggest.

To commemorate catching a choice spot, I took a three-mile hike into and along the deep arroyo, a quiet, solitary hike providing continuing appreciation of this desert landscape. When I left the arroyo a few times to walk the level plain above, the landscape resembled a moon landscape more than Earthscape. Obvious that little water falls here, but equally obvious the plants and living creatures thriving here are amazing and have a beauty unique to them.

On this hike, as with many other hikes in the past, I came across a few small, hand-painted stones along the path. There must be a name for these, but since I do not know what, I coined a name for them: smile markers. If you know the name and the premise behind them, please add a comment and let me know. Whenever I come across them, whether on a nature hike or walking in a city or town, they make me smile and appreciate both the artistry and the selfless giving of something handmade to the wild and to the passing hiker.

2 thoughts on “New Campsite, New Hike

  1. The ‘smile markers’ as you refer to them are known simply as painted rocks. I prefer your name for them, but then your way for describing most everything always has a poetic ring to it. These hidden gems are mostly found in plain site to bring joy (smiles) to kids and adults. A fun hobby to share with others. Some sign the back with the location where they were painted and then placed throughout the U.S. and possibly further afield. There were Facebook pages set up to show others the rocks you have found or have hidden. My location was Grays Harbor County in Washington and the Facebook link was Grays Harbor Rocks.

    1. Thanks! I’ll turn them over next time I’m out the same paths to see if there’s anything on the back. Hadn’t thought of that.

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