#16 White Elephant Camp-site
My northern camp-site was seven miles north of Ash Fork in the Kaibab National Forest.
G.B. pulled the pink trailer half-way up the mountain side, below the White Elephant quarry, then settled it under wind twisted, old juniper trees. He filled the trailer’s water storage tank and connected the propane tanks for the fridge, stove and hot water heater. To guarantee ample water for the shower, G.B. had his carpenters build a stand to hold two water barrels behind the trailer. I thought he was carrying my water supply to an extreme when he had the carpenters brace a third barrel in the fork of a juniper tree by my door. But G.B. knew I would run out of water, no matter how much I had.
The first morning at my new camp-site, for a special treat, I fried bacon in addition to onions, potatoes and an egg. I carried my plate and a cold Pepsi outside into the cool, early morning sunshine and climbed up onto Huff, a loader G.B. had driven out from the stone yard the day before.
Slowly I ate my breakfast while scanning the scene below me: Mt Floyd and Picacho also referred to as Ol’ Pocatch, rising above a line of cinder cones along the horizon. I looked north, but the valley soon disappeared behind the skirts of my mountain. South, the valley reached out to Ash Fork and beyond, into the early morning haze.
My attention was drawn to the ground close below my camp-site by the arrival of a huge long legged jackrabbit. He sat quivering, wide eyed and still, then bolted on his zigzag path at the sound of a passing cottontail.
I looked up into the deepening blue sky and into the branches above my head, and called to a little bird who replied, “com’ere, com’ere, com’ere.”
I noticed a puff of dust where the valley road crossed the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad tracks into town. The dust traced a vehicle’s progress down the valley. Eventually the vehicle swung onto Quarry Road, crossed the cattle-guard and flashed between the trees along the frontage road. It was G.B. in the company pick-up bringing rock doodlers who did not have transportation up to the quarry.
In order to open the office at eight A.M. G.B. dropped off the men at seven-thirty, checked their water barrels and equipment, gave them their orders for the day, then roared back toward town.
On his way down the mountain G.B. skidded to a stop by my camp-site, saw I was gazing at the view below and asked me, “Charle, how can y’all just set thar a’doin’ nothin’? Y’all get yer giddle on up the hill an’ paint some pictures. I’ll be back this evenin’.”
He was off in a big puff of dust . . . and he was back at noon and at three o’clock and at five o’clock, but he never did come back that evening.
The next day I learned “evenin’” is any time after twelve noon, and G.B. had come back three times that “evenin’.”