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  • Writer's pictureAlice Wyatt

Gila Hot Springs Weekend

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

the place is packed

vintage camper vans

a rainbow of tents

shiny pickup trucks

pulling color-coordinated pop-ups,

a display akin

to the plumage of strutting roosters

single women, take the bait

move in close

shy, easily spooked

by pretentious mansplaining

but interested,

oh, definitely interested!


campsite settled

towels slung over shoulders

bodies slip into rock-hewn tubs

sink down,

with sighs of contentment

an afternoon breeze

rustles cottonwoods

which, in turn

drop medallions of gold

into steaming pools

hands reach out,

scoop, then toss

the desire to tidy

always with us


damp hair towel-dries

as sun slides behind

juniper studded hillsides

Autumn air settles into hollows

campfires blaze

hot dogs, s’mores, cheap red wine

friends swap tales

already told

comfort in the repeat

tucked into bed by 9:00

full moon mocking

efforts to sleep


cozy mummy bag cocoons


early morning

szhoop of tent zippers

click, click, whoosh

then, HISS from Jet Boil burners

perched on picnic tables

damp with morning dew

dog tags jingle - jangle - jingle

toenails find the illusive itch

noses touch, tails wag,

greetings exchanged

on the

morning pee path

thwack of an ax

cold toes and cold noses

quickly warmed by

a crackling fire,

steam from enamel coffee cups


check out

not till 11:00

sturdy shoes, leash snaps

the wild calls

summer storms

come and gone

the Gila River

a gentle stream

in knee-deep eddies

bulbous tadpoles scatter

before the scuff of

ghostly toes

settle down

only to be spooked again


all packed up

tail-gates slam

hugs exchanged

calendars consulted

next year?

same place?

same time?

yes, let’s

To the ultimate campers: Ann, Susan, and Sonia, who we missed dreadfully

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1 Comment

Oct 17, 2023

Wow, just wow. I was there in my mind and so badly wanted to be in body. Great writing!

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