Big Bend and Paint Gap Road
After another breakfast of pancakes and peppered bacon with a large pot of coffee, we set out for Paint Gap Road. Our initial plan was to ride the Yamaha. But the road was really rocky and uneven, a cool breeze was blowing, and even with helmet, jacket and two sweaters I was chilled to the bone. I got off and walked waving my arms up and down much to the amusement of the ravens circling overhead. A camper down the road was kind enough to take our photo and informed us that it had been twenty degrees that morning. I kept my helmet on with the visor down and kept walking—it was still chilly.
At the end of Paint Gap Road we found the remains of an old windmill, a squeeze chute, some fencing, and a spring down a wash. Hauling water up that wash until the windmill was operational had to have been a huge chore. I filmed some short clips—me walking along that rocky road and Glen riding the motorcycle.
It was just mid-morning and Glen tinkered a bit with his DRZ and thought he identified the problem with its poor running. He rode the Yamaha up to Grapevine Hills and then off-loaded the DRZ. We rode about three miles or so up the gravel roads until I decided that I was simply too tired to ride further. It was still cold and I held my elbows in tightly, making the ride much more taxing. I rode most of the way back, with a nice couple in a truck waving cheerfully at me.
We loaded up the motorcycles and ate lunch—more squirt cheese on saltines, a handful of mixed nuts and water while perched on the end-gate of my truck—a very comfortable seat. Glen looked over the hiking trail book and thought that perhaps we could try Devil’s Den.
The initial trail to Devil’s Den is quite flat but then it splits from Dog Canyon trail up a wash. There were people foot-prints in the sand and gravel up the wash and we walked steadily up hill for nearly an hour. A little before 4 we turned around and headed back for the truck, not wanting to maneuver our way out of the canyon and off the trail in the dark. Twilight is active time for the denizens of the desert—snakes, coyotes, tarantulas, panthers, peccaries, bears. I prefer to view them from the comfort of my truck.
My knee was complaining loudly by the time we got back to the truck. My pedometer said I had walked nearly six miles, Glen was sure he had walked just five. A peccary stood off to one side of the road to Panther Junction and a mule deer with a huge rack stood on the road to Study Butte. Two surveyors were still busily at work as the sun set.
Supper was at La Kiva, clearly the place where the locals hang out. Happy hour on Tuesday is two hours long followed by karaoke by Cooter. A tale was told of a dog that ate a cooler and expelled a zipper; we ate shrimp quesadillas and quail sausage and left before Cooter started singing.
It’s our last day here and we are sad to leave.
More photos are here: