It seems all my hikes start either standing at the edge of a canyon and plunging into an abyss before grinding out a return or standing at the bottom of a mountain and grinding up hill to a summit before plunging down the mountain. This would be different in a lot of ways as it turned out. The trail crosses a wash and takes a serpentine route past....
......Dove Mountain Resort.
In or bordering the wash, the trail passes a variety of types of plants but always....
....lots of varieties of cactus.
The trail stays flat until it begins a steepish climb to a plateau, follows another wash before a 2nd climb to another plateau.
Prior to the first climb, the trail passes in front of an old building.
Arriving at the top of the 2nd climb, there is a bench but the stench of a half eaten animal makes it impossible to linger. Now the trail undulates in and out of side canyons while gaining some elevation. I hear something behind me and....
.....see two cowboys with 3 dogs. They eventually overtake me, sometimes walking on the trail, sometimes off. They locate a group of cows and drive them to a......
....water tank. The trail crosses near the herd before climbing a small hill. I turn to watch as, with my passing, the herd is prodded at a 90 degree angle from me to my right. I note a huge cow leaves the group and follows the trail, toward me. I looked to see if the guys or dogs noticed the departure but they did not. The cow plodded toward me so I stepped off the trail to let it pass. I brought my camera up and waited for the cow to round a bush that was obstructing my view. The cow was at least as tall as me but it is a cow and I don't recall there being any reports of cows being man killers. I glanced to my right and now a cowboy noticed what had happened and he screamed, "Move!" while waving his arm at me..Uh oh.
I began walking briskly and after a few steps, glanced back and the cow was matching my speed. I looked around for a tree or something to put between myself and it. I reached a broad grassy area and the thought of being mounted by a cow caused me to begin running....sprinting actually. Whew! The lumbering beast lost its interest in love or at least lacked the stamina to pursue. Now at the 6 mile point in the hike, I turned to watch and then tentatively retraced my path to the water tank. All clear. I then......
....headed back. As if I don't have enough critters to worry about, now I have to add cows to the long list.