Added 19 May 2008

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Day 1: Sunday, 17 February 2008, Martinez Lake, Arizona

(Hover over images for captions. Click images for larger versions.)

After a brief rock hounding foray into the Trigo Mountains on what was otherwise a kayaking trip on Martinez Lake and vicinity the month before, I decided to reverse the focus and plan a rock hounding trip in the Trigos on which Id do a little bit of kayaking on Martinez Lake and the Colorado River.

Before I get to the kayaking part, I want to publicly humiliate a group of jackasses we encountered in the Trigos. We were relaxing at camp one evening and were rudely interrupted. A group of about six RUVs (like big 4-wheel ATVs with roll cages) came running down the road. As one crested a hill, he tore off off-road through the desert spinning his tires. These folks were not off to a good start with any of the three of us. They then parked on the road above us and carried on a long, loud, obnoxious conversation, which included them yelling down at us, thinking they were being funny. Brian D., Marisa and I were the only people for miles around, literally, and they had at least tens of square miles around to be obnoxious, yet they chose to be obnoxious right near us. We were not at all thrilled.

Eventually, some of them left, but two remained and they went back out and started tearing through the desert again. We were livid. I grabbed my camera and went off to find some peace but they ended up where I was. It's really a shame because it was such an amazingly beautiful evening and it was wrecked by a handful of ignorant, dis-respectful jackasses. As I walked back to camp, they returned to their spot right near our camp and proceeded to be even more obnoxious for over an hour. It was all I could do to keep from going up to have a little chat with them. I knew that if I did I wouldn't be able to hold my tongue and things might get out of hand, so we all just sat in camp and stewed. Eventually, sometime after sunset, they drove off. But even then they only drove as far as the nearby mine, and they were so loud we could still hear them. I hate guns, but I wish that Brian D. had brought his. I would have happily shot them all. I hope I never see Fred, Linda and Bill (I think it was Bill) ever again. Brian called them Fred and Ethel. Even Brian, a rather avid 4-wheeler said that people like them made him wish the government would just close all roads down.

Photos are provided of the perps who engaged in this ILLEGAL activity. If you happen to know them, please direct them to this site so they can learn a thing or two about RESPECTING THE ENVIRONMENT and RESPECTING OTHERS.

Anyway, after doing a hike in the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, Brian D. and Marisa returned home, so I went on a tour of the viewpoints in the Refuge looking for a good place to launch my kayak. Unfortunately, I only found one spot that had access to water, and it was down a rather steep, loose trail. I would haul a boat with two people carrying it down the trail, but I don't think I would carry a boat by myself down the slope. The trail provided access to Baxter Lake. Even though it appeared to be a pretty small lake, I'd like to check it out someday. The northernmost point held promise for access to the Colorado River, but there's a sign at the point barring all public access between the point and the river. It's a shame, as it would be a great place to launch from, float down to Martinez Lake, then shuttle back up.

Finding no place to launch from at the points, I went to Meers point on Martinez Lake and launched from there. I went up a channel which was nice, but held little wildlife, then I paddled around the northern end of Martinez Lake. The northern fingers of the lake are lined with private residences, so it's not a very natural experience. I did get up close and personal with a cattle egret though. Once finished there, I loaded the kayak up and drove around the Martinez Lake Resort to launch from there for an evening bird-watching and photography paddle. I looked for a few features I'd remembered from my previous trip, but couldn't find them. I couldn't figure out if it was because the lake level was higher or lower than before. There's not much too much to say about the evening's paddle, except that I was in bird and photography nirvana, as the plethora of pictures that follows will show.

It was a magical evening and as the sun dropped to the horizon the lake turned golden. It was an absolutely wonderful evening. As darkness descended I headed back to the ramp and quickly loaded up to try to find a camp with at least a little bit of light of day. I failed in that end, but found a pretty nice spot just north of the gunnery range on a side road up into the low hills. In daylight the spot was visible, but at night I was well hidden.

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