“I want to go home,” I tell Jerry. “It’s creepy here. I hear monkeys outside.”
“Aw, c’mon. Have fun. I’m having fun. Be adventurous.”
It’s a little before sunset and we’re inside Cabin #4 on Big Bug Creek.
When we checked in at the front desk at the main lodge, I asked the clerk if he knew why the creek is named Big Bug Creek. I hoped he would calm my apprehensions of mammoth bugs waiting for us in our cabin.
The clerk, a sixtyish gentleman wearing gray slacks hoisted by suspenders, answered without making eye contact. “I have no idea,” he said. “We have no big bugs. Now, please read this form and sign it.”
He pushed the paper across the counter. The form notified guests that the property has rattlesnakes, scorpions, wild beasts, the occasional flash flood, and the potential for death to those unfortunates who wander off the trail and suddenly slip to an untimely demise at the bottom of the creek.
I signed the bottom of the form, waiving all responsibility to the property owner should I meet one of these unhappy circumstances.
The clerk rattled off directions to our cabin and didn’t mention the directions were to be taken by foot. Jerry and I thought he meant we could drive to our cabin and almost drove off the side of the cliff. We then realized we had to park at the top of the hill and haul our luggage down a bumpy paved path to our cabin.
After unloading our suitcase, coffeemaker, and other worldly goods, I explored the grounds. Quail, ants, rabbits, and lizards happily darted in front of me as I sauntered toward the creek. The closer I came to the creek, the more I realized I didn’t hear any burbling water sounds. When I reached the creek I gazed in disappointment. Big Bug Creek was dry. I rested on a wooden bench provided for guests who want to enjoy the sight of rocks in a dry creek bed. I heard many odd sounds coming from the woods, gaggling, cackling and squealing sounds. I heard monkeys sputtering “ooooh-ooooh-ooooh” from somewhere in the trees. I felt certain one could land on my head at any moment.
If that wasn’t enough, panic set in when I spotted the snake close to my foot. Upon further investigation, I determined it was a stick. Thank goodness I have an eye appointment coming up.
I raced back to the cabin and found Jerry happily reading the book he brought with him. Jerry asked, “Are you having fun?”
“No. Not really Jerry. I have a headache and I’m tired. If we hadn’t paid for the cabin already, I’d just as soon drive home.”
That’s when Jerry said, “Aw, c’mon. Have fun. I’m having fun.”
I hate to be a killjoy, but I miss the safety and comfort of home. At home, you can’t drive off a cliff even if you try.
Our cabin features a lipstick-red, heart-shaped hot tub next to the bed. I have no desire to use it. It looks out of place in a rustic cabin.
And rustic is the understatement. The bed frame is made from logs, which has an outdoors kind of appeal. The front door looks so rickety you can only hope it doesn’t fall off the hinges. And it doesn’t require a key card, but an old-school metal key attached to a flashlight.
The back door has a crack wide enough to let light from the setting sun to seep in.
“This place wasn’t built by a craftsman,” Jerry says.
“Jerry, there are monkeys out there, somewhere in the trees. And that crack in the door gives me the creeps.”
As if to humor me, Jerry asks, “Want me to put duct tape on it?”
We had come to Mayer, Arizona to escape the heat. The temperature in Phoenix hovers around 109-degrees, while we enjoy the cooler outdoor temperature in Arizona’s high country. Even so, we stay inside with the air conditioner on. Jerry reads his book and nurses the coffee he brought from home. I write in my journal.
With our heads on pillows made in 1952, we sleep remarkably well until 5:30 a.m. That’s when we hear something outside of our window being tortured. “Sqwaaaaaaaaaaaaaak! Sqwaaaaaaaaak!” Jerry vaults out of bed to see what the trouble is. He peers out the back window, and reports, “It’s crows in the apple tree. They’re huwwwww-gh.”
“How huge?” I ask.
“As big as chickens.” He later changes his estimate to “bigger than chickens.”
I attempt to go back to sleep, but finally I get up and wander outside to the back porch. The view feels like an IMAX nature movie. I don’t see the gigantic crows, but I see a quail family pecking at the apples on the ground. The fuzzy baby quail follow their mama as they zigzag back and forth like steel balls in a pinball machine.
Jerry expresses how astonished he is to see me outside in my shorty pajamas.
“Jerry, who’s going to see me other than the menagerie of wildlife?”
Even though we brought our own coffeemaker, we don’t use it. We haul it back to the car, hand in our key and make a five-minute drive to a bakery called the Stone Flour Bakery and Café. It’s charming and cozy with historic allure.
The coffee and homemade wheat bread taste delicious.
Best of all, no monkeys. No giant squawking crows. No sticks pretending to be snakes.
“Let’s savor the moment, Jerry,” I say as I sway to the country western music playing on the radio.
With that in mind, Jerry goes for a coffee refill.