Yesterday, as I’m bundling up to go work outside, I walk pass the living room window and see a person walking along the back part of our property down by the shed. We live on what I like to refer to as “2.5 acres of leave me the fuck alone”. I have done my time living in close proximity to others and really prefer having acreage as a buffer. Our property is WAY out by the Superstition Mountain. Who is this person and why are we walking out here?
I grab my walking stick and head out unsure what I am getting ready to face. I regularly wear steel toe boots on the property for safety. I’m wearing leggings, jeans, two shirts, two flannels and a head wrap because it’s 50 degrees outside. This lizard needs heat she can peel away as she works up a sweat.
Now three times my actual size, I stomp outside to greet the intruder.
Oblivious and casually walking, it’s an elderly woman armed with a camera. I can take her.
I yell down to her “Hey! Can I help you???”
“…No.” She answers and continues on her trek towards my water tank.
My face at that moment had to have been priceless.
What the hell is happening this morning? Another reason why I’m not a fan of Mondays.
I am now forced to hike on down to have a more personal conversation and to be honest I’m not smiling and sweet. I’m annoyed. Like I mentioned, I’m on 2.5 acres and had no intention of walking the perimeter of it when it’s “freezing” outside first thing in the morning.
As I get closer she’s startled. She roughly in her 70’s, thin, socks with her semi- appropriate hiking sandals, loose legging type pants and light jacket. I again ask her if she needs something. Confused she says, “This isn’t a road?” We are standing next to my water tank. Yes, its technically a dirt road that does not lead anywhere but my property.
This is where it gets better. “Does this take me to the Heiroglyphics Trail?” she asks. “They said it was within walking distance. An easy hike.”
Only locals will openly laugh at this. And I did as I hung my head shaking it. Who the hell sent this poor woman so far off track? We are roughly 3 miles from the parking lot of that trail. I refuse to tell anyone a hiking trail in this desert “easy”.
Thank heavens it’s not Summer, she didn’t go much further and get lost or hurt!
I’m not saying that to be dramatic, I’m serious. She had no water with her and she was alone. Though out casually walking, she was oblivious to the much-documented fact that my property is a thoroughfare for a healthy pack of coyote and a growing herd of javelina with baby in tow. Had I allowed her to continue on she could have easily walked right over to the main wash all the animals use.
It’s cold for the desert so she was not really all that in danger of meeting a rattler but again all bets are off when a reptile needs heat and comes out to find a spot in the sun.
We have a sign that reads “Private Driveway” with a Certified Wildlife Habitat sign right below it. She said she thought it was for the other property where she was staying and dismissed it.
One of the things I giggled about when we bought the property was the entrance having a chain across. Why would Elwood and Gerd need a chain? Cute elderly couple who had been living up on a hill way out in the desert for years, really a chain is necessary to keep people out?
We don’t use it most the time but found out quickly it proves useful certain times of the year.
Now I’m being reminded our Snowbirds are back and the chain needs to start going back up. Visitors flocking from anywhere its cold and snowy to come soak up our perpetual sun. They are easy to spot, they have on much less clothing than the locals and they are pale.
As I escort my lost Snowbird back up to the front driveway she tells me she is staying in the house next to us. He air BnB’s it or whatever. “It’s huge inside!” she marvels “… have you been in there? Lots of rooms….”
Yeah lady lots of rooms not as many windows. H.H. Holmes style construction. 6000 square feet of crazy is situated right next to my property line. No, I haven’t gone in that place for a visit. I prefer to watch him from a distance half assed roller brush it with blood red paint.
I say none of this out loud.
We stop at the beginning of my driveway. As she continues talking I find myself feeling guilty about how I reacted to her earlier. The nice woman standing before me had simply been lost. She meant no harm. But because of having lived my life, I am not all that trusting, seen too much. My first animal instinct was to protect. Protect me and mine. But somehow my Momma Stace protection mode had shifted into keeping HER safe. I had stopped growling at her.
By this point I had relaxed enough to share stories of the mountain and encouraged her to go over to the Superstition Mountain Museum to learn more then sent her back over to where she came from.
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