Doug and Karen

The weather for the past few days has been sunny and warm with a howling wind.  Most of the time the main channel of the lake is covered with whitecaps.

As expected, our friends Doug and Karen stopped by to camp with us for a few days.  Readers of this triplog may remember them, as we had spent time with them before.  The plan was to use the kayaks to explore the lakeshore but the hurricane-force winds prevented this.  Improvising, we spent the time visiting, hiking and going for drives on some of the primitive roads in the area.

One day we walked around the edge of the lake trying to find shelter from the wind.  Another day, we drove several miles along a dirt road just to see what was on the other side of the next ridge.  Another day we visited an abandoned gold mine, but didn’t find any gold.  In the evenings, we pooled our resources for dinner and entertained ourselves playing dominoes.  We very much enjoyed their visit and were sorry to see them leave for Las Vegas.  It will be a long time before we see them again.

For much of the year the desert around here is a combination of moonscape and furnace — nothing but hot rocks and shimmering heat a foot off the horizon.  You would swear that nothing could grow here.  However, this time of year with only a few inches of rainfall, the desert blooms and there are flowers everywhere.  There is even a slight green tinge on the distant hills.  Combined with the soft winter light it is a beautiful sight to behold.  We took the opportunity to take some pictures of the seasonal flowers, which readers of this triplog may enjoy.

As out-of-the-way as Cottonwood Cove is, our off road excursions took us to truly remote areas.  One day we were traveling off road for hours and never saw another soul.  Not a person, car or airplane.  There was nothing but sand, rocks, flowers and the sound of wind blowing across the desert.  As a former corporate warrior, I dreamed of places like this when all three lines of the work-phone were lit up or when sitting in some silly meeting discussing the elimination of the coffee service as a cost-cutting measure.  Yes, places like this really do exist and walking down a dry wash looking for fragments of turquoise is a fulfilling way to spend the day.  It sure beats worrying about explaining budget variances.

We completed our workout twice over the past few days.  One day I got to run with my friend Doug, who did remarkably well as an ‘occasional’ runner.  He suffered a little the following day but there was no permanent damage.  We enjoy running in the desert this time of year, but I’m sure any kind of workout would be impossible here between May and October.  One great feature of this location is the hilly terrain.  It had been a while since we ran on hills and they really do seem to strengthen your legs.  We’re starting to think it might be time for another 5K and we’ll see if one can be worked into our travels over the next several weeks.

There are quite a few employees living here to maintain the facility, marina, store, cafe and boats.  Most of the workers live in older trailers that haven’t moved in years.  One evening, one of these trailers was completely destroyed by fire and the guy living in it lost almost everything he owned, including his cat.  We briefly talked with him the day after and he was obviously still upset.  Strange how and event like this can turn your life upside down.  At least he is fortunate to be in a small community where the neighbors/co-workers will keep an eye on him and lend a hand.

All in all, our stay here is just what we wanted: quiet days, warm weather and new places to explore.  We look forward to more of the same.