Monday, April 19, 2010

Desert Rats

There are a lot of people who enjoy the solitude of the desert and many of them have bought parcels of land out there where they can enjoy that solitude.  People who live out in the desert, in my opinion, are a different breed of people.  The image that one can conjure up of a desert rat, a hermit living out a meager life away from all company and human contact is an easy one for most people to picture in their minds.

Every now and then, when I go geocaching out in the desert, I'll come across a small house, or possibly a trailer of someone who wanted to get away from it all.  Obviously, geocaching has brought the "all" to them, and thus their solitude is sometimes intruded upon.  Other times, it's possible just to see hints of the desert rat's life.  If they really want their solitude, they can erect a fence around their plot of land.  Good fences make good neighbors, even if the nearest neighbor is miles away.

We encountered a couple of these out in the desert recently, but my favorite was the Leapin' Lizard Mine.  That's what it was called, although I suspect that the owner had placed that sign out there more as another barrier to keep people away from their sanctuary.  The dangers of abandoned mines and open shafts are kept in the forefront of most people who go exploring in the desert.  On a recent hike, we saw several mine tailings on the side of the hill we were walking next to.  The open mine shaft was also sometimes easily discerned.  We found a pit, surrounded by chain link fence.  I made sure the Tadpole kept his distance from that one.

The Leapin' Lizard Mine was a large plot of land that we encountered while hiking the Groundspeak Series.  There was a chain link fence around the entire claim and the gate had multiple signs on it warning us to keep out.  As far as I was concerned, that's usually what a fence signifies out here.  Keep Out.

The owner also had a sign indicating that the enclosed area was a wildlife sanctuary for desert fauna, particularly rattlesnakes and desert tortoises.  I think that's a very noble cause.  I had a desert tortoise (permitted) living in my back yard.  I feel like I'm helping an endangered species ward off possible extinction.  As we continue to encroach on these animal's homes, their living spaces shrink and we'll see less and less of them in the wild.  I've never seen a desert tortoise in the wild.  The one in my back yard can't be returned to the wild, as that is against the law, but I can own it as long as I have a permit for it.  And so it goes.

But I digress.  My real objection to this fence isn't that it isn't necessary.  If the person wants to erect a fence, that's fine.  If they want to place a couple of warning signs on the fence telling people to keep out, that's fine too.  I just think this person went a little bit over the top with the signage.  The neighborhood watch sign, was the icing on the cake in my opinion.  There are neighbors out there who are watching this little fenced in piece of property?  I seriously doubt that particular sign is going to cause anyone to think twice should they want to enter the property and if anything, it makes a mockery of the entire situation.  But then again, the thought process of someone who lives out there like that isn't something that I really understand.  I guess he and I will have to disagree on what's effective on this one.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocache:
Groundspeak Series - Stealth - by HDGC

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RDOwens said...

I totally understand wanting to get away from it all. And the plethora of signs help the landowner when there is an incident.

I would imagine erecting a fence around large swaths of land could be expensive. Posted signs should suffice. If one does not heed the warning, he takes the risk of what he may find on the other side.

Sauerkraut said...

You have such an exciting blog with really cool pictures :)

Webfoot said...

Thank you very much Sauerkraut. Come back and visit again.

RD - I believe when No Trespassing signs are posted, they mean exactly that. However, when mixed with a Neighborhood Watch Sign, a Municipal No Parking Sign (that I doubt was obtained from the local municipality) and a Beware of Dog sign where clearly there is no dog as evidenced by the very large gap in the gate, the message becomes muddled and unclear.

It makes me wonder whether it's actually an animal sanctuary or not. I think the animal sanctuary sign coupled with another No Trespassing sign would have sufficed and sent a very clear message, that I'm sure most reasonable people would adhere to. The jumble of signs makes a mockery of the entire operation in my opinion.