The Biting Cactus

Slept in this morning – 8 o’clock!  Well, my day is shot.  Ha ha.  Took a shower, had a quick breakfast of buttered toast and Earl Grey tea, then we were out the door.  I didn’t bother to take my jacket since the temperature would hit the low 80s.  My sweatshirt would be enough. 

We drove out about 7 miles northwest to the Apacheland Movie Ranch in Apache Junction, by the Superstition Mountains.  What struck me the most here were the massive mountains – let me say:  Oh! The colors!  Violet-brown with touches of orange-red, the dry land, and the menacing greyish-green Saguaro and Prickly Pear cacti.  Jeanne complained she overdressed and was “too hot.”  We stayed for a few hours, casually walking around the buildings and taking in the fresh air.  I noticed some corralled horses, so we wandered over to a thin, weather-worn man wearing a lopsided cowboy hat who took care of the “for hire” horses.  We talked awhile about Apacheland while I petted a gentle roan.  I found out that this is where the television shows “Death Valley Days”, “The Rifleman,” “Gunsmoke,” “Wagon Train,” and “Have Gun Will Travel” were filmed.  And – get this – the Elvis Presley’s movie, “Charro!,” was also filmed here.  The white wooden chapel in the movie was here, too.  (I don’t know for sure, but I took his word for it.)  Alas, we didn’t horseback ride today but resolved to do that another time.

Before returning home, we stopped and had lunch at Superstition Skies restaurant.  The BBQ beef sandwich and baked potato were good and hot, just right for a hungry appetite after all that fresh air and walking.

We returned to Gold Canyon, there was time before the next activity, so I decided to climb the cacti-covered hill behind the house.  It was still warm enough to go out without a jacket; my sweatshirt and jeans were enough.  I heeded Jeanne’s warning to make sure I didn’t step on a cactus because they are dangerous with their spiky needles.  The hill was steep, but not enough to deter me.  A couple of times I slipped slightly on the gravelly dirt and watched carefully for cactus.  Evidently, I didn’t watch that carefully, because near the top of the hill, one of the short and nefarious cacti bit me.  The nerve!  Its needle pierced my left boot and stuck ever so slightly into the side at the arch of my foot.  It stung and hurt terribly.  I carefully stooped down, then found a nearby rock to sit on.  I grasped the needle with my left thumb and forefinger and pulled it straight out.  Yes, it hurt, even after I removed it.  I rested awhile, then I put my boot back on and limped a few more feet to the top of the hill.  I took in the scenery for miles around, then hobbled back down the hill and to the house.  Once there, I took off my boot and sock to see the damage.  The spot on my skin was red and a little puffy; I soaked it in Epsom salts and put some Bactine on it.  By the time I went to bed, it was getting better, and I didn’t limp anymore.  I really don’t know how that needle got into me, since I was very cautious.  Who knows?

Anyway, Tim and Vicky came by around 5 o’clock.  They are a very talkative couple; mostly him.  Very.  Like an endless loop on a tape recorder.  They brought a couple bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, and before we knew it, the five of us were on the patio grilling steaks and imbibing.  Orrie lit the piñon pine in the chiminea and the aroma mixed well with the grilling beef and asparagus.  I had an extra helping of asparagus with my perfectly done rare steak.  A second glass of red was my limit, and we talked and talked until it got too chilly to stay outside.  We decided the five of us are going to Tucson and Pima tomorrow.

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