Camping with My Pal Jason at The Oasis in The Desert Near Steens…

The Oasis Campsite
Lily from The Oasis in The Desert near Steens…
Jason with “Ritchie” The Friendly Rattlesnake Snake at the Oasis in The Desert Badlands near Steens…

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2961975417415024&id=100008077837032

Road to the Oasis in the desert badlands near Steens

It’s an adventure hanging with my pal, Jason. He’s the Snake Whisperer, you know…

Early morning about 4am last week, Jason, woke me up with a Zoom call. When I looked at him he started saying something about camping.

Then, he said with a laugh ‘n big shit eatin’ grin, “get over here, dude! We are going campin’ at the Oasis in the desert near Steens!”

I got up, without my boots on, showered, shaved ‘n stuff, got my saddle bags, and jumped on my dirty dirt bike. I was headed to the Oasis in the desert near Steens…

So, over hill ‘n dale, I road fast. My mind was set on a BBQ ‘n beer at the Oasis in the desert near Steens…

Seems we got a sudden invite from “Richie, ” The Friendly Rattlesnake, to go camping overnight. This was big!

Jason is a Snake Whisperer, you know. He can hear and sense Ritchie, from far away, you see…

Once I got there early afternoon ’bout 2 or so, Jason was already in his big rig ready for some fun action at the Oasis in the desert near Steens…

After a long drive to the Oasis in the desert near Steens, it was just before dark when we arrived. I still didn’t know what my pal, Jason, was up to. Maybe he was whispering to Ritchi, then…

While I put up the the pup tent for 2, Jason, sat with a beer visiting with Richie, his Rattlesnake buddy, who keeps a sharp eye on things at the Oasis near Steens…

Camping with Jason always includes his friends in the desert, or anywhere else we go. Richie, The Friendly Rattlesnake, is always there to meet us first. He checks things out so we are safe from other unfriendly critters hanging out at the Oasis at night…

Earlier, we discovered one lone desert Lily on the way at a small green patch in the desert. The Lily grows here in the spring when the desert is still wet and cool during the day…”

Jason loves to cook desert turnips, cactus apples, and his favorite roots as a veggie side, with a touch of his favorite Tiquila, too. For tonight, he cooks up a stir fry with generous pieces of smoked salmon we brought along for our camping adventure at the Oasis near Steens…

While I was cleaning up after dinner, Jason went with Richie looking for other new friends who might want to join us for a marshmellow or 2 by the fire. There’s a whole list of night time desert critters who love marshmallows cooked on a camp fire…

Some potential new friends might include these characters. Coyotes, skunks, bobcats, tarantulas, scorpions, centipedes, peccaries, kangaroo rats, jack rabbits, owls and nightjars are just a few of the many, Jason would entertain… Jason loves them all, as one family in the desert Oasis near Steens…

“Jumpin’ Jack”
The desert Jack Rabbit from The Oasis in the desert near Steens… https://www.facebook.com/morgan.newberry.90

While I waited at the campsite, close to the fire, smoking a peyote pipe, Jason went off in the dark with Richie to keep them safe from bad dudes. I was thinking then, how we would share a desert dessert, of Cactus Apples and whipped honey cream when they return…

Richie, The Friendly Rattlesnake, likes to bite Cactus Apples for practice… He would have his favorite dinner delights later…

Jason, finally came back after being out for awhile. He left Richie behind, he had dinner waiting. Think it was a Jack Rabbit, I believe. He was swallowing it for a late supper near the Oasis swim hole…

Jason was holding something in his arms, as he sat down by the camp fire for a beer and smoked Salmon bits. “Who is your new friend?” I asked Jason while staring at glaring black eyes under his pouch…

“It’s a injured baby bobcat,” Jason whispered sadly as he comforted the little kitty. “What did you name her?” I whispered back at Jason…

“I named her “Baby Betsy Bobcat,” Jason said with a kind smile. “She was almost killed by a huge desert Owl, a sneaky devil sitting top of a tall Joshau Tree near the swim hole close to Richie’s pad…

Jason put Baby Betsy Bobcat in the tent with us for the night to help her heal up until early morn. Then, take her back to her mom, who was waiting anxiously for little Betsie to return…

Jason is a Snake Whisperer and healer too, you know. All the desert wildlife know this when Jason is there, camping nearby at the desert Oasis near Steens.

We couldn’t sleep that night. Baby Betsy Bobcat was getting better after awhile, when we finally fell asleep. Jason got up way before me to take Baby Betsy Bobcat back to her mom near the Oasis swim hole…

Ritchie, The Friendly Rattlesnake, watched out for Jason, while I got everything ready to go. After Jason checked the camp fire to be sure it was out, we jumped into the big rig and raced to the salt flats near Steens.

It was another beautiful day in the desert badlands near Steens. We didn’t say much on the way back. We didn’t need to…

Everything was said or not said. It’s an adventure hanging with my pal, Jason. He’s a Snake Whisperer, you know, a healer too…

I was already thinking about the next adventure to the Oasis in the desert near Steens. It was that way at the desert Oasis near Steens…

Heading across the Salt Flats in the desert near Steens with my pal, Jason…
Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan…

Please download my fun and uplifting book on Kindle app to your smartphone. Thank you for a review too!

Memorial Day Remembrance 2021… Ronald Allen Slane SP5 US Army 1967-68 Vietnam

VFW Memorial
Depoe Bay Oregon
Ronald Allen Slane SP5 US Army 1967-68 Vietnam
Neighbors for Kids at VFW Memorial Garden
Depoe Bay, Oregon
Neighbors for Kids, VFW Memorial Garden 2021
by Kimberly Boyd, NFK Board and Volunteer
Depoe Bay, Oregon

In Memory of Ronald Allen Slane SP5 US Army, Vietnam 1967-68, VFW Post Auxiliary 5653, Depoe Bay, Oregon

http://www.voanews.com/content/a-13-2005-11-10-voa14-66907182/262815.html  Quote from this website and article…

L.D. James recounts what happened to one group of soldiers in a new book called Unfortunate Sons: A True Story of Young Men and War (Cambridge Dent Publishers).

“The author tracked down survivors of the ambush with the help of the Internet and Manchu reunions. He also talked with the families of men who died, like that of Ron Slane. Unlike most of the Manchus, who were drafted into the military, Ron Slane volunteered to go to war as an army medic. He was a conscientious objector, but believed he had a duty to serve in some way. The book includes a letter he wrote to his younger brother:”

“This war has all of a sudden jumped right into my lap. It’s not a game any more. Tomorrow night if everything goes the way they say, we’re scheduled for ambush patrol. It’s the real thing and I’m scared. Not of dying though. What frightens me is will I be able to care properly for those men that I am responsible for.”

*****

A life cut short by war…  Ron Slane’s smile shows a young man full of life and hope.  Ron is from Lincoln City, Oregon and is remembered on more than one memorial in his home town and on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC.

Judy and I were on a walk awhile ago with grand dog Skai to the Depoe Bay Park next to the harbor.  In the park is the Ron Slane VFW Post Auxiliary 5653 shown in the photos here.  I paused and took a picture while being completely distracted from the voice of Judy telling me to come along and catch up. 

I have lived a full life at age 75.  I feel blessed with all the challenges and rewards of a life lived well.  We are enjoying retirement on the Oregon coast with close friends, community involvement, the love of our family, and a new grandchild arriving very soon…

It has been healing for me to be reminded of those who served America in past wars, including my own father in WWII and the Korean War.  Wars have taken the lives of millions on the battle field, at sea, and in the air like Ron Slane at the beginning of a promising adult life. 

Countless others over the years who returned home suffered a life time from the trauma and horror of war with visible and invisible wounds.  So, after several minutes of reflection at the VFW memorial it was time to “catch up” with Judy and Skai. 

I decided to go home and find out about Ronald Slane of Lincoln City who was killed in action in 1968 trying to save the life of another soldier, his buddy.   Ron was a medic who volunteered to serve America but did not believe in fighting and killing.   Ron Slane is honored and remembered today as a post on this blog…

Steve and Judy Sparks
Children and Families in Life After Trauma
Ronald Allen Slane SP5
Date of Birth 19470427 04/27/1947
Service A Army
Component Y Selective Service
Rank SP5 Specialist Fifth Class
Grade and posthumous promotion E5
Service Occupation 91B20 Medical Specialist (ARMY)
Actual Date of Casualty 19680302 03/02/1968
Actual Date of Death 19680302 03/02/1968
Tour Date 670918 09/18/1967
Posthumous decoration
Casualty Type A1 Hostile, Died
Reason D Gun, Small Arms Fire
Air no Air 7 Ground Casualty
Body Recovered — Undefined Code

http://army.togetherweserved.com/army/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=Person&ID=68969

http://www.cityofdepoebay.org/pdf/minutes/council/2002-2010/cc_2005-12-20.pdf

V.  SPECIAL ORDERS (from the regular meeting of the Depoe Bay City Council on December 20, 2005)
A.  Presentation:  Larry Newman – Ron Slane VFW Post/Auxiliary 5653
Commander Larry Newman and Adjutant Al Burke, on behalf of Ron Slane VFW Post 5653 in Lincoln City, presented certificates for meritorious and distinguished service in furthering the aims and ideals of Veterans of Foriegn Wars. to Tanya York, the Kids Zone (www.neighborsforkids.org), Dr. and Mrs Jack Brown, Pery Murray, and Mayor White for the City of Depoe Bay.

Inspirational and uplifting read. Get Kindle app free to download my ebook to your smartphone…

Little Whale Cove Sunset by Judy Sparks

Don’t Forget to Remember You Too… On Memorial Day and Every Day…

Steve Sparks, Radioman 3rd Class 1964 Pearl Harbor
USS Coucal ASR8 Pearl Harbor 1965

https://www.aarpethel.com/fulfillment/as-memorial-day-approaches-i-remember-everything?

On this day, in this year of 2021, I remember and honor all who have served and died for America. I also remember and honor my service to America too, USN!

I think sometimes we forget to remember and honor you, the one who loves yourself and others the most. You might also know that, if you love yourself as much as you love others, you will feel loved and blessed more than you can imagine…

It’s never been easy for me, nor do I believe life is easy for anyone on the planet. That’s because we are all the same, I believe that…

We are not the same, though, on a few minor details, that are often missed placed as all important. More than some folks are rich, many more just get by. All too many good and decent souls are in poverty or worse, homeless and without shelter.

I believe we are so very much the same, though. It is this one thing that is all too often put aside for the missed placed things. It is kindness and love…

I did not know or understand love growing up as a post WWII War Baby. My home, like 10s of thousands veterans back then, served as home based ‘critical care’ beds for all the moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and cousins who were lucky to come home. They came home injured and damaged emotionally, often for a lifetime…

In my own life these days, home must be the focus of health care. Home is where a healthy life style starts, or ends, or doesn’t start at all. Do you know homes just like all of these? I do. I’ve lived in them or been with my friends who do…

I love to start the day with a healthy life style. It hasn’t been like that mostly in my life until now, as an old 70something surf dude, I know…

Battered up, scared, and tuned up more than my share, I live with a sense that is a gift these days. I realize now the one thing that got me here in the first place. It is love, only love, and kindness…

So, on this day in 2021, I remember kindness and love. And remember too, we are all the same with love and kindness in our souls.

Remember this too, Your neighbors will love you as much as you love yourself…

Steve Sparks
Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…aspiring artisan

Please download ebook on Kindle app to your smartphone…

Escape for a moment, breathe…

15 Stupid Worn Out Clichés to Stop Using…

https://www.wordgenius.com/15-cliches-to-avoid-like-the-plague/

Whirlwind tour

Any time someone says this to me, I don’t want go…

Patience of Job

What’s that? Nothing would ever get done if everyone was on a coffee break at the cooler all day. Never assume all the folks you hang with know who Job is from the Bible.

Never a dull moment

What does this mean? What’s so dull about dull? Who does that all day long?

Sands of time

This one makes me feel even older than my 70something years. I don’t want to hear this!

Paying the piper

This sounds like a crime. Why would anyone want to hear that?

March of history

Who’s March? What for? Why for? Whom for? The March month, maybe? There is no context or perspective to me. It’s stupid!

Hook, line, and sinker

So, as I recall, hearing this more than once in my lifetime, here’s the deal. If you are “hook(ed)” on something, you have a chance to unhook yourself. If there is a “line” attached to the hook, then you get jerked around so it’s tough. It’s very tough to get unhooked without someone else there to save your ass. If a “sinker ” is added, you are fucked! No way out.

Don’t take the bait in the first place, I’d say, after doing this a few times myself…

Long arm of the law

I used to know a few bullies back in the day. Some were cops. Others pretended. Others were on huge ego trips. Most had issues, and should never be connected to anything with “law” in the mix. It could be triggering to some…

In the nick of time

What’s “Nick?” Who’s “Nick?” I could see “ticktock” of time. It’s another stupid cliché, right?

Leave no stone unturned

I used this one back in the day, and still do once in awhile. We invented it. That’s how old I am. Now, I use, “Leave No Hot Stones Unturned.” Read this powerful article by Jason Evans, and learn more…

Fall on deaf ears

I have a dear friend and neighbor who is deaf in a very joyful and kind way. He sees and hears things more clearly than anyone I have ever known. Absolutely nothing is unheard by my friend. I’d say, please don’t say this to anyone, please for your souls sake.

Cool as a cucumber

I think a cucumber is cool and delicious in a salad, but not the main event. Pickles are actually ‘cool’ to me, but not as cool as a typical cucumber. I don’t know. It’s complicated and stupid too. Don’t you think?

Cry over spilled milk

I still hear this once in awhile. It is really about little ones spilling stuff all over like kids do. We don’t want to get upset and cry about that. Do we?

Champing at the bit

When I started my career, I had a sales manager who said that to me alot. I still don’t know what it means. Do you? It’s kinda stupid, really…

This about covers it for my own assessment and musings about Clichés. It’s easy, ,”don’t do stupid,” my boss always said…

Steve Sparks Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan…

Please download my new ebook on Kindle app to your smartphone. Thank you for a review!

Spa Day!

“Whimbrel” A Pirate Cove Little Wonder… with Cecille E Kennedy…

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/whimbrel

Cecille E Kennedy

“A whimbrel feeding at Pirate Cove Research Reserve, Depoe Bay. It was solitary among common murres, seagulls and cormorants. The whimbrel was foraging, moving nimbly and quickly.”

This past year or more, I have become completely taken by the seabirds who live on the Central Oregon Coast. In these later years. I have found peace of mind and joy hanging out with my seabird friends along the coast near Little Whale Cove…

I have also come to know new like minded friends like, Cecille E Kennedy, and others, who have helped me, and inspired my soul to look deeply into the beautiful lives of these precious birds by the shore.

Whimbrels, like most seabirds I know, live peacefully together as clans who appear to help one another. I don’t see them fighting among themselves. I see them caring for and loving their partners and young ones…

I watch the Whimbrel keeping close tabs on their brood by the shore. They seem to gather in a large bunch like a fort to protect themselves from predators. Eagles watch from the trees high above the cliffs near the shore…

As edited for easier readability and clarity from the Autubon link above, my own narrative follows…

Feeding Behavior

Whimbrels forage by walking on open flats, picking up items from surface or probing just below surface. The long bill, does not seem to probe deeply. When feeding on crabs, they may break off legs and crush the shell before swallowing the body of crab.

Eggs

Eggs, sometimes 4 maybe 3 of them, olive to buff, blotched with shades of brown ly in the nest. Incubation is by both sexes, roughly 24-28 days….

Downy little ones leave the nest hidden safely near the shore. Soon after hatching. Both parents tend young, but young feed themselves.

Adults, actively attack predators flying over the nesting area, and will fly straight at human intruders, swerving aside at last moment. Age young ones at first flight about 5-6 weeks…

Diet

Includes insects, crustaceans, berries. On breeding grounds they munch mostly on insects in the beginning. Berries (such as crowberry and cranberry) become the best treats by late summer.

On our coast in Pirate Cove near Depoe Bay, Whimbrels eat crabs, like humans delight themselves with King Crab legs from the Bering Sea. Amphipods and other crustaceans, marine worms, small mollusks keep their tummies full in between…

Nesting

Early in the breeding season, the main man Whimbrel, performs flight maneuvers over the nesting territory. He flies in large circles, fluttering higher and gliding down, while giving whistling and bubbling songs by the ‘Eagles’ greatest tunes…

On ground, Whimbrel pairs call together. The nesting site is on ground, usually in a dry raised area near low-lying wet tundra. Nests, built mostly by mom, is a shallow depression, lined with bits of lichen, moss, and grass by the shore…

Migration

Whimbrels choose a wide wintering range, from Pacific and southeastern coasts to southern South America, Whimbrels from European and Asian races, with white on lower back and rump, sometimes stray to North America, where they like a little more privacy and kindness in Pirate Cove near Depoe Bay…

I keep telling myself how very cool it is how my seabirds and other wildlife friends on the coast have touched my soul so deeply. It is in these later years, when my mind feels free from too many distractions and mostly nonsensical things, I can let God into my heart and soul, right here, in the Cove by the sea…

It is in this stunning and beautiful place on the coast near the sea, where I can look out from the shore and see clearly. It is here where God follows me to the sea and the setting sun…

Steve and Judy Sparks
Children and Families in Life After Trauma

Download in Kindle app my new ebook with 54 short stories of furry loved ones and wildlife friends on the coast…

Neighbors from Big Whale Cove pay Matt an unfriendly visit…

“Steve ‘n Harry” Pals Forever!

“Steve ‘n Harry”

Steve ‘n Harry are my pals forever too. I see them both most days as they walk by and say, “hey Steve!”

You see, Steve is my name too. Harry is my middle name too…

Steve ‘n Harry, both stop and talk to me when they walk by. They like to chat about how much they love the neighborhood, especially the rain forest with all the birds and trees, and cool breezes from the sea..

Sometimes, “Ricky Raccoon and the kids” show up and want to chat and play too. But, they know running around in the neighborhood chasing Ricky Raccoon is not a good thing…

Sometimes too, “Sammy ‘n Stan and the Squirrel Gang” show up to see us chatting by their favorite tree. They like to stop for a chat high up in the trees…

“Hansel ‘n Gretle” our friendly Crow neighbors, find a spot near by to say hello too… We all talk, bark, chirp, and sing together, as neighbors who love each other in the rain forest by the sea…

I think we feel each other’s souls on these beautiful days in the Cove by the sea. We gather in harmony as one family, one neighborhood, one planet, living together in peace and love…

It is in these moments, I feel my soul. God follows all of us together as one, I know…

When it’s time for a walk in the rain forest down to the sea, Steve leads the way with Harry in tow. While our neighbors, Raccoons, Crows and Squirrels alike, go on with their day, we think of our next visit, on another beautiful day, in the rain forest by the sea…

We love all our neighbors here in the Cove by the sea. We love the cool breezes from the sea, and the birds singing in the tall trees, as we walk down to the little Cove by the sea…

Until next time, I wish only the best for all living things in our neighborhood by the sea. When I feel my my soul, God follows me to the sea…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan…
The Cove Raccoon kids at play…
Read all my stories of furry loved ones and wildlife friends in the Cove by the sea…

Agates from Yachats Bring Sunshine and Beauty to the Oregon Coast…

https://www.facebook.com/brenda.kime

One of the most beautiful gifts on the coast is the abundance of agates that often escape the eye unless you are looking closely. The big ones are easy, but not always recognized by the folks strolling along on the rocky beaches like Fogarty Beach near Depoe Bay…

Yachats is Always Good for a Couple of Agates!

How are agates formed?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agate

“Agate minerals have the tendency to form on or within pre-existing rocks, creating difficulties in accurately determining their time of formation.[6] Their host rocks have been dated to have formed as early as the Archean Eon. Agates are most commonly found as nodules within the cavities of volcanic rocks. These cavities are formed from the gases trapped within the liquid volcanic material forming vesicles.[7] Cavities are then filled in with silica-rich fluids from the volcanic[7] material, layers are deposited on the walls of the cavity slowly working their way inwards.[8]

Here in Little Whale Cove, Judy and hunt for agates, moat are small, though. We make amazing driftwood art pieces with a mix of agates, pebbles and shells. Anyone with a mindful soul and passion can do this, no doubt…

Some folks tumble agates like Brenda Kime in Yachats. We haven’t tried that yet. But some do tumle agates in our neighborhood. It’s a passion and labor of love…

Be careful, agates and beachcombing will make you forget about everything else. Maybe that’s a good thing. Right?

“Moon Over Sleeping Lady”
We made this piece from a vision from our life in Icicle Valley near Leavenworth, Washington
https://www.sleepinglady.com/our-story

We hope this little introduction to a wonderful way to dream and imagine moves your soul. The beauty and mystery of Planet Earth speaks to us in ways so spiritual we can’t explain.

Cecille E Kennedy, Depoe Bay, Oregon

Go out to your favorite spot on the coast and seek peace and love too… God speaks to us there like no other experience you can imagine.

Live and love in the moment. Dream your dreams by the sea near you..

Steve and Judy Sparks
Children and Families in Life After Trauma
Do you see agates? What do you see? What do you feel?

Jason Evans on The Pacific Crest Trail… Leave No Hot Stones Unturned!

Jason Evans on the Pacific Crest Trail
High Sierras with Jason Evans…
A good, clean, cool swim ‘n bath in the High Sierras

Jason writes a powerful story of his love and respect of things larger than us… I was moved way beyond my own cognitive comprehensive. I’m awe struck by the power of heart and soul to move mountains, just like Jason.

Introducing, Jason Evans, is a true gift of the spirits to me. He spent 136 days and nights on the Pacific Crest Trail, ending his heroic journey in Washington State. He will inspire and move your soul, like he did for me…

Steve Sparks

++++++++++++

“The great pleasure of reading many secular and sacred texts from far flung parts of the world has been mine. Advantaged having travelled many years living abroad and otherwise, has leant me perspective which honors all cultures; and invited in the midst of those reveling in that greater than themselves I am in awe. I will wish Allah to be with you, and touch my heart; hold hands in a manner traditional to a Christian, and bow while you pray; pass the peace pipe and marvel as incense wafts. I will break bread and tell stories with anyone who is kind – a bonus a robust sense-of-humor. All kindred spirits are welcomed to be my neighbor. I find that-greater-than-myself in wilderness, and gaze beyond. The natural world and facts are buttress enough. Kindness is my only guide to social norms, and the only rule within my family 💫” Jason Evans on The Pacific Crest Trail…

Over some of the greatest passes in the High Sierras I often hiked at night.

Drought had somewhat parched the tallest peaks and passes this spring and summer; they were tucked in with a thinner quilt of snow and ice than most seasons.

Many vast snowy patches were poorly stitched, and perhaps more dangerous for their incongruous batting.

Post-holing and slipping were real risks, somewhat abated on the coldest nights; when snow firmed and crusted.

Still I picked my steps around many a crevasse, and sunk, many times over, to my waist. At times underground streams gurgled, or could be glimpsed a dozen and more feet below in a void.

Glissading down a north face by moonlight is the quintessential rush and reward.

On two such occasions I was reminded how fleeting life could be.

Freezing temperatures and rushing winds combined with less exertion climbing down. Wearing all my clothes and running I was still too cold.

Compounding danger, my ultra-light air mat had sprung a leak and was worthless.

Ready to camp, to sleep, I couldn’t for fear the earth would sap any heat no matter how good my bag.

In each case I kept moving down the mountain for hours, eventually passing the timberline, and finding near streams in the forest existing stone fire rings. In those places I lit two of three fires during my 136 nights on trail.

I pulled pages from books I was reading to tease out small fires, and to heat a number of stones, while my extremities shed the dull numb.

Having stacked the hot stones nearby, and the fires extinguished, I crawled shivering into my bag.

Soon the topmost stones would no longer burn my bag or skin. I cached them one by one. In each case using the largest, squarest of them, wrapped in my little towel for a pillow.

As was I, many of the stones were still warm in the mornings.

The third fire I lit was perhaps more or less admirable in the end.

Earlier in my journey, before fire season, I set up camp a couple hours after dark, on a night not particularly cold, in foothills of Southern California.

The campsite is nestled on a hillside in a pretty pine forest.

A little stone fire ring smelled like it might be smoldering, and I cursed the hiker who spent the prior night there; but found when I dug my fingers beneath the coals, it was barely warm.

On a whim I ripped out the chapter of Huckleberry Finn I’d read the night before, and with a few twigs lit a cute little fire by which I read and cooked my dinner.

Sometime later, I used 3 of my remaining 4 liters of water to make gazpacho the fire-pit, knowing I had only a few miles to hike to the next sure water in the morning.

Sunshine dappled the clearing when I awoke just after dawn. I ate oatmeal and brushed my teeth, packed my bag, was ready to roll. But something was bothering me. It wasn’t just my clothes, I still smelled smoldering.

I dug into the setting, but still soupy fire-pit. It was cold to the touch.

Then I noticed what at first I took to be a wet patch like a rash across the bit of clearing just below the fire stones. It seemed too wet. I wondered if I’d inadvertently pissed on the fire in the night, though it’s not my style. I hadn’t noticed it in the dark the night before.

Down on my knees and digging I realized the patch I’d supposed to be wet was hot. A bleeding fire, mostly underground. It covered, in a mottled sort of way, at least 5 square feet as evidenced by the scorched duff above. It turned out to be bigger.

The blemish sizzled a little as I dumped my last liter of water.

Suddenly I was scared.

Immediately I grabbed my Nalgene bottles, two, each a liter, and my 3 liter bladder, and hiked south near a mile to a slow spring where I had filled up the night before. By the steady drip I collected 5 liters of water, my full capacity at the time, and finally hurried back to camp.

Steam sputtered as I tried to best extinguish the burn, alternately digging with stout sticks and fingers, and mixing, where I could wet the earth.

It wasn’t enough. I hiked to and from the spring, near 2 miles round trip, 3 more times that morning. Each time getting further ahead of the stain.

Even when I knew it was out, I stayed and read, periodically fisting core samples to be sure.

When I hiked away in the early afternoon my stomach was in knots. Assuredly I scanned fire reports when I was in service for weeks. It was out.

No other hiker past that day. I like to think I would have been forthright and entreated their assistance. In truth this is the first time I’ve shared this story.

With kindness in my heart always,

Jason Evans on The Pacific Crest Trail… PCT at the Mexican Border May 1, 2014 finished at Canadian Border seven or 12 mikes extra inside Canada on Sept. 15th.

Jason, and best pal, Rosa, on the desert salt flats near Steens…
Jason, heading to Steens on the desert salt flats

Jason, Rosa, Doggie ‘n Me Too. Back to the Oasis in The Desert Near Steens…

Jason and new friend, “Gunner” The Resident Gopher Snake at the Oasis near Steens…
Jason with gorgeous Rosa in the Desert near Steens…
“Doggie”
“Gunner” The Resident Gopher Snake at the Oasis near Steens…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pituophis_catenifer#/editor/0

“Gunner” The Resident Gopher Snake, greeted us at the Oasis near Steens with a puff ‘n huff. He puffed up his body and posed like a pit viper ready to strike, it seemed…

At first, I thought he was “Ritchie” The Friendly Rattlesnake Snake. Jason’s other Snake pal at the desert Oasis near Steens, did not show. We planned a picnic with Rosa and Doggie, on that beautiful day at the Oasis near Steens…

When Gunner lunged, at Jason, Rosa, Doggie ‘n Me, we jumped back with some trepidation and fear. Jason didn’t move, though, as we looked on in shock…

Gunner closed his mouth and simply gave Jason a little loving peck on the cheek. Gopher Snakes are friendly like that, you know…

Gunner, then looked over at us, standing there without a clue what to do in that moment. Jason set up the fold-up picnic table, and looked at us with a smerky grin and whispered, “Let’s cook us up a burger, and a frog for Gunner, and have a beer on me…”

We sat on a rock seat next to the fold-up picnic table under a shade tree by the spring fed pond. Jason held Gunner as they whispered sweet things to each other…

You see, Jason, is a snake Whisperer. He makes friends with snakes in the Desert Oasis near Steens…

While we talked of the beauty and peace of Jason’s secret place at the Oasis, Gunner and Doggie played hide ‘n sneak by the pond. They were looking for another frog or two, it would seem…

Doggie and Gunner looked back at Jason, Rosa and me, as if it was time for a swim in the cool spring fed pond at the Oasis… We all got up at once, jumped in together, laughing as one big happy family at the Oasis in the desert near Steens…

When we got in the truck to head back home, Doggie wouldn’t come. He was still playing hide ‘n sneak with Gunner in the pond at the Oasis near Steens…

Then, we saw Doggie running after us. He hopped into the back of the truck, smiling and laughing, like furry friends do. It was another heavenly day at the desert Oasis near Steens…

I’ll be back soon with another story about my pal, Jason. He’s a snake Whisperer, and all things made by God, in the desert badlands near Steens…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.
Heading back home with Jason, Rosa and Doggie…

“Jason Evans at The Oasis in The Desert”

“Jason Evans at The Oasis in The Desert” Imagine this!
“Richie” The Friendly Rattlesnake with pal Jason at The Oasis in The Desert…

“When you haven’t seen another vehicle in 11 plus hours and woke up to the coyotes hollering at each other and have mooed at a few cows, passersby; still a fly is in your frame 💁🏻‍♂️” Jason Evans

I went for a drive with my pal, Jason, yesterday. It was a beautiful clear day in the remote desert valley below Steens…

I was looking forward to hooking up with Jason’s new best friend, “Ritchie” The Friendly Rattlesnake at the the Oasis in the desert next to Steens…

I couldn’t wait to jump in for a swim in the cool spring fed pond inside the Oasis in the desert. We were a long ways from humans here.

“It’s a good thing,” I mused to Jason, as we both looked at each other with smart ass grins and a laugh or two…

It’s a joy hanging out with Jason. He’s fun, and makes me think and dream about things we both love about nature and wildlife in the desert near Steens…

Solitude helps me to live in the moment with a peace of mind so spiritual and moving. My soul is at peace as we drive up to the Oasis in the desert near Steens…

“Richie” The Friendly Rattlesnake was waiting for us to arrive. He knows when Jason is coming. His soul tells him so…

Jason gets out with his friendly snake stick and walks slowly up to Richie, whispering something I did not understand. You see, Jason, is a Rattlesnake Whisperer…

Rattlesnakes Make Great Friends On The Trail…

Jason and Rattlesnakes love each other as friends in the Oasis by the Steens. “Ritchie”The Friendly Rattlesnake, is Jason’s new best friend in the Desert near Steens…

Richie, The Friendly Rattlesnake, stood back, bowed his head, and waved us by with his rattling tail. We could then enter the spring pond we imagined on the long drive here.

It was a good day in the Oasis near Steens… We imagined again the cool spring pond waiting for us near by…

We swam and bathed in the cool spring fed pond. It was here I felt God and the spirits move my soul.

In the meantime, Jason did not speak. He whispered things I couldn’t hear. You see, Jason, is a Rattlesnake Whisperer.

Jason’s soul whispers to me too. I can hear him now…

We didn’t speak on the drive back home. We whispered only to our souls looking back at the Oasis near Steens…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.
Heading back home with Jason and my soul…