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Feb 10: Deming, NM to Safford, AZ

What a land of contrasts we are in - in our country, as a whole - and here in the southeastern corner of Arizona. From our little campsite - Cottonwood #1 - at Roper Lake State Park we are very near rivers, creeks, reservoirs, mesas and mountains.

Entering Arizona, it feels like we are embarking upon a new leg of our journey - hopefully a warmer one!

The landscape quickly became hilly as we drove out of New Mexico this morning and into Arizona. As we neared Safford, AZ, Mount Graham loomed in the distance. At nearly 11,000 feet, it is the tallest mountain in Arizona. We passed cotton fields and hay fields, an area rich in agriculture, no doubt due to the availability of water.

Mount Graham announces her snow-covered self in the distance.

A smart lizard warms herself on the stones of a building. We explore Mariah Mesa Trail, with a view down onto Roper Lake.

Roper Lake, where our campground is situated, is a 32 acre reservoir and, according to Ms Google, "the land, formerly a ranch, was purchased by the state in 1972 in order to construct a reservoir." I can imagine this state park alive with green vegetation and lots of people recreating in the non-winter months. Now, though the campground is full, very few people are out and about, opting for the warmth and entertainment systems of their trailers. (When are we getting a large-screen TV installed in our tent?!)

We walked around Mariah Mesa Trail in the afternoon, getting a better view of mountains in all directions. We braved the chill and wind and cooked up some supper on the stove - Mexican tofu, veggie scramble in tortillas. We were in the tent by 7pm, cozy with our sleeping bags and portable heating elements (aka dogs).

Tomorrow we hope to explore the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area. Until then, good night.

Oh, to be a carefree dog....

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