Fortuna Pond (and a Sand Storm)

February 17 – 20, 2017

I have a love-hate relationship with Fortuna Pond. You can see from these images why I love it, but if you look at how close the campers are together, you can also see why I hate some aspects of it.

The first time I came here was after the RTR in 2016, and I was horrified by how close people were together. I’d become (sort-of) used to being close to other campers at the RTR, but this place was quite a shock because I’d never camped in a place this crowded before. My first time here, I’d parked in a wide-open spot, but pretty soon I had someone with a huge fifth wheel trailer squeeze in next to me, and end up about six-feet from my bumper, and was horrified, and when they told me they would try not to use their generator at night, I positively cringed. That was in 2016, but this year I knew what to expect and I knew that if I couldn’t handle it, I should leave once the sandstorm passed.

After the sandstorm, I moved to the other side of Fortuna Pond where I had a better Verizon signal, and to wait out the rain storm. When I parked there was plenty of space around me, but once the weather cleared more campers moved in. You can see how close they got, and this picture was taken before someone else squeezed into that spot in front of my van, at which point I left the next day because it was getting just a bit too cozy (and noisy) for comfort.

I didn’t let the crowded quarters bother me, though, with the exception of one occurrence. It was 8:00 am and I heard someone yelling right outside my van. I’d actually still been sleeping when this mans booming voice woke me. I peered out to see what was going on, and this man was instructing his wife to do this and that, and every now and then he was yelling things like “See, this is fun. We’re going to have a good time,” and “Isn’t it beautiful here,”  so loud that I cringed. His wife kept shushing him but he just ignored her. Then he proceeded to set up some chairs, a table, his fishing rod, and ice chest and more along the shore line between my van and the water and then moved the table and stuff so it sat next to my campfire ring. Okay, I had a bit of a problem with that but figured I could share my space a bit. It was after all, how things were done here. However, it seemed that he had no comprehension at all that someone might be sleeping in the van, or might be going to the bathroom or getting dressed, and walked right by my door, within about a foot of my open window. Now that was just plain inconsiderate and rude. He was stepping into my comfort zone and had no regard for the resident at all.

After a while I opened my door and stepped out, he ignored me, she tried to get him to be quieter, but he just glared at her, an evil glare that said: “shut your mouth.” I went for a walk to escape his yelling, which was now also becoming verbally abusive, with high hopes that they would be gone when I returned. No such luck. I sat there in dismay, listening to him degrade her and put her down more and more each time he opened his abusive loud mouth. I shivered, his demeanor and attitude brought back some horrible memories for me. My first husband was verbally and physically abusive, and this poor woman had done nothing wrong at all. She was simply there. Another thing this man did was leave his fishing line scattered all around my camp site, with no regard for the wildlife or the fact that he was littering. I felt my skin crawl with disgust, and my heart went out to the woman. I knew what she was going through, and how she felt. When finally he decided they should leave for a better fishing spot and started to throw things into the vehicle in anger, I saw a chance to speak to her. I went over to pick up the fishing line, and I said to her “Leave him, buy a small white van, and live on $500 a month on your own. I did that, and now I’m happy.” I didn’t dare risk saying more, but I had to say something. His treatment of her was despicable and she had done nothing wrong. I can only hope it planted a seed of freedom in her brain that will grow, and eventually lead her to realize there is a way out.

The other thing I don’t like about Fortuna Pond is the fact that it is surrounded by crop fields. That might bring images of farmers growing cauliflower, and beets and other wholesome healthy vegetable, and plump ladies with aprons picking them with big smiles on their faces. NA! Wrong. This is crop-dusting country, and the chemical they spray onto the fields can be so heavy at times that you can’t see the mountains because of the thick white haze of toxic chemicals drifting in the air. Additionally, the crop fields come all the way up to the edge of the highways, adding additional toxic chemicals to the vegetables that are growing alongside the pollution coming from car exhausts. The first time I saw all this, really brought home how exactly most crops in American are farmed. It was quite an eye-opener.

However, if we choose to not pay much attention to the planes, trains, and generators, and decide that our bodies can handle a couple of days of breathing high concentrations of toxic chemicals and that camping so close to someone else is merely a lesson in tolerance, then we can enjoy the beauty that Fortuna Pond does have to offer.

And it has plenty to offer.

Surprisingly, I don’t see birds with two heads, and beavers with missing tails. The wildlife looks healthy, and is very tolerant of the human invasion on their pond, affording us an exceptional view of them.

There are ospreys, gray and white herons, coots, badgers, kingfishers, cormorants (or a bird that is very similar), road-runners, gambles quail, fish jumping, beavers, hummingbirds, and many more species of wildlife. I’m sure that as spring approaches there will be even more wildlife to view, and most of it is so used to humans, that anyone there can get a really close look at their magnificent beauty. It is a treat to watch wildlife this close, without them being caged.

The sunsets are made more beautiful in part, because of the chemicals sprayed in the air (at least that’s what I believe), and the sounds of nature are a treat to all ears when a rare moment of silence envelops the camp. In those moments, it is truly beautiful.

While at Fortuna Pond I recorded some video and combined my recording to make a YouTube Video. You can watch it here: Boondocking at Fortuna Pond, Yuma, AZ. Please like, comment and sign up for my YouTube Channel.

I hope you have enjoyed this installment of my travels during the winter of 2016/2017, and hope you’ll continue the journey with me. Please visit the HOME page to find more articles, and feel free to share, sign up and leave a comment. Until next time…remember to step outside of your comfort zone as often as possible.

Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature

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5 responses to “Fortuna Pond (and a Sand Storm)

  1. Excellent Picture, Really One of the Best Wildlife Moments i have seen ever. Really Appreciate your work and efforts and as an photographer i can understand how much efforts & Patience are required to capture Birds and Wildlife. Really inspired from your work. I started photography to inspire others and still i am working for others to raise them as good photographers. You can see my work at http://www.nitinkhanna.net/ and Let me know how is it. I would love to hear it from you and if we could work together ever it would be great.

    Like

  2. I’m not a religious person, but I think the Universe (or what have you) put you in that situation for a reason.
    You did a good thing by telling that lady to leave her husband (or whatever he is). Sometimes it takes an outside person to say something. Even if she’s thought about leaving him before, having someone else (a stranger no less) say “you’d be better off without him” hopefully got her thinking that it’s time to leave him. Even if she doesn’t buy a van and live cheaply on the road, I hope for her sake that she gets away from him.
    Abusive folks don’t change, and I suspect it was only the presence of witnesses that kept him from doing more than just verbally abusing her.

    Have you ever thought about getting cards made up that you can give someone that has the web address for this blog? Or maybe the address for Bob Wells’ website & forums, I have to imagine that his group would also be supportive (and he may already have some sort of card made up).

    I hope that you find more peaceful camp sites in the future 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kelley – I can only hope that my brief words were what she needed to give her a nudge. If she was already thinking about it, it could be the catalyst. However, I know from experience that it usually takes many attempts to break away completely, and it will only happen when she is truly ready. I hope that is sooner than later. I wasted 10-years of my life with my abuser, but I’m thankful it wasn’t 20.
      I am thinking about making up cards for my blog, some have suggested stickers too. Not sure I’m popular enough for stickers though…I don’t have that many followers.

      Like

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