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A Sunday’s Jaunt

I went out into the desert with two of my fellow nurses this Sunday.  We started out looking for Apache Tears outside of Superior, a small town along Highway 60.  Superior is an old copper mining town that served as the backdrop for the movie ‘U Turn’, with Sean Penn.  Back to rocks: the largest Apache Tear that we found was about three and a half inches long, the average size was about 1/4 inch.   Apace Tears are rounded, black, transluscent pieces of obsidian or volcanic glass.  They look like they are growing in a shiny, whitish gray matrix called Perlite.  The industrial use of Perlite is as a soil enhancement.  Perlite holds water and helps make soil less compact so that roots can develop in a deeper, and more secure way.   Something else that was plentiful; fat, yellow caterpillars.  Everyone of them that I saw was eating like there was no tomorrow.  We even saw them inching along highway 60.   Some more notable sights; a rattlesnake of probably 4-5 feet in length, had slid into an abandoned mine shaft that was about 20 feet deep.  Kent, Steve and I gathered the longest dead branches that we could find, and stacked them up to enable the snake to escape from the pit.  Even though I knew I was well out of striking distance, I still felt the little hairs raise up on my arms as that snake commenced to rattling when the cactus branches started piling up in the shaft.  It’s good work to help your fellow planet dwellers, even though we didn’t see the rattler escape, at least it had more of a chance.   One of our other adventures of the day was to dig out a truck from the sandy river that doubles as a road.  We saw a teenage boy, his maybe 11 year old brother, and their grandmother standing around the truck which was mired in the sand.  They looked red and sweaty, and the little boy said that they were almost out of water.  Steve had a tow rope and knobby tires on his FJ Cruiser which, he put to use.  Kent and I worked with the kids to dig out the excess sand from the truck tires.  After 2-3 failed tries of Steve pulling out the truck, Kent took the teenager’s place behind the wheel of the stranded truck and tried to drive out while Steve pulled him out–That worked!  We were all greatly relieved, as we were WAY out in the desert and it was close to dusk.   Steve and Kent are fun to hang out with, they are adventurous and usually have some new gadget or device that I’ve never even heard of but might have a need for once I’ve seen it.  Check out our pictures in the Gallery Album: Arizona Excursions.  My favorite picture is where I snuck behind Kent and Steve and got a shot of them photographing the moonrise.  With their clean shaven heads it looked like three moons!  Oh yeah, don’t forget to locate the picture of Kent picking up a tarantula in the dark!!!  Must be a boy thing…