I made it back to camp as the clouds blew in, obscuring the snowcapped peaks. I flipped open the tent, sitting below it to keep out of the weather. I had planned on a hike through a canyon nearby, but I could see the rain falling on the other side of the valley, so I started to write a letter instead.
Soon the gusts were swirling and dust covered the sheet of paper. I kept writing until the dust became a white ball on the tip of my pen. When the rain drops started to mix with the dust, I moved the chair into the rear of The Rover to watch the desert storm.
I continued to write, and the rain continued to fall. I mixed a cocktail, ate some cheese & crackers, and played some BB King. Some people off in the distance worked on putting up a large dome tent with a nylon screen roof. They call that a skylight, and they always leak. Twenty minutes later, and the tent was barely upright and the rain fly had yet to be deployed. Hopefully, they had cots to sleep on.
BB King morphed into John Prine, and it was time to cook dinner. Which I did from my chair in the truck. The campground host came to check on my credentials, and John Prine had become Miles Davis. The words continued to flow, so I wrote as the rain continued to fall in the desert.
Daily Archives: 23 March 2011
The wind howled as I looked over the crater rim. Volcanic pellets sandblasted my exposed flesh, and twice the gusts were enough to knock me sideways. This was crazy, but I continued along Ubehebe’s rim, pulling my sweatshirt’s hood up over my head because the constant pounding of the wind was hurting my eardrum.
The crater, which is a half mile wide, was formed 3000 years ago when groundwater turned to steam by the heating power of magma. The resulting explosion dropped debris 150 feet thick over a 6 square mile area. Little Hebe, which is right next door, was formed the same way, but only 500 years ago.
I found a spot that was protected from the wind, sat down, and dangled my legs over the eroded edge. It was so peaceful. I could still hear the wind, but it seemed so far away now. I followed the layers of Earth down to the bottom, watching the tiny forms of people among the creosote. In the end, I would head down there too, but I wasn’t in a hurry to give up the solitude of the rim.