A Random Monday…

On a random Monday, I decided to venture south because I had seen several posts around on various social media sites about poppies that were blooming around the Arizona deserts. While everyone else was riding the trend craze and heading out to Sycamore Canyon and Chocolate Falls to capture the overflowing waterways, I thought, “Why do what everyone else is doing, I’m going to try to find these flowers.” It wasn’t hard, but what I didn’t realize was that one of the largest poppy fields people were pinning on maps and saying they had visited was in the middle of really desolate and desperate Indian reservation. (Please note that I mean no offense by what I’ve just said, that’s just the state of what it was…) I was pretty shocked to have driven nearly four hours to what I expected to be a hillside of amazing orange, but what I discovered was dirt roads, desert covered in garbage, and a place where the ground literally glittered because it was covered in broken glass. I was looking for a park (which I assumed was some type of wildlife park, or preserve), and as I wound further up the road, what I found was that the condition of the houses got worse and worse–doors and windows were missing, and in their place was plywood and cardboard, plastic and duct tape. Then, as I got to the top of the mesa and the end of the road, I came up on a baseball field and stadium lights, and I was shocked…THIS was the “park”. It was not a preserve or wildlife park of any  sort. Obvious really, but overwhelming to me because there was no grass or any other real give away that it was a park other than the stadium lights and chain link fence– just dirt…glittering, sparkling, glassy dirt. I was really taken over by the sense that I just should not be there. I had found the hill covered in poppies but I was so shocked by the misconception of where and what it was alleged to be that I turned around. I felt like a trespasser for sure. I was pretty outraged at the people who had posted things on social media drawing attention to the beauty and wonder of this place, and as a result attracting other trespassers. It was such a weird feeling…I felt like I had to flee. I had driven down there for a purpose though, and didn’t want to leave with out seeig it through. So, I pulled off near a canyon where I had remembered seeing a vein of poppies blossoming. I scaled the side of the canyon, where the sandstone was breaking, and my sweet dog, Cowboy followed me up and back down while I captured a few ok shots. We both fell at least twice, but I learned how much trust he has in me as we both trapsed along the side of the canyon. I also learned (after the fact and thankfully without getting caught, that picking poppies in the Arizona desert is illegal…oops…). I felt such a strange sense of culture shock after all of this, that I just wanted to get us home, and after about an hour in the sun, both of us panting, we took off like bats out of hell toward our San Francisco peaks and the comfort of our things, and came home.

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