Tortolita Springs: A Hike

2010-03-14

It rained! Spring is on and the Tortolita Mountains beckon. When it rains in the desert the waters flow. They don’t stay around too long. Everything is changed for a day or so. After a long drought, rain is a joy.

There is no dust and the bouquet of Spring air is invigorating. The temperature seems perfect.

There is a car parked at the base of the hill. There are hikers up there someplace.  We decide to be cautious and wait to get undressed. We climb up the steep trail about a half mile to where a wash crosses the road. As we ascend we take in the vista of Mt. Lemmon to the east. The rains in Tortolita had shown up as snow on Mt. Lemmon, a mile higher.

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Today, the dry wash is a small stream. We make our way through the moist sand, until it becomes a system of flows through the huge granite slabs. These slabs have been uncovered by erosion and then smoothed out by years of periodic rains.

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It is fun to climb, to balance on and to explore these contours.

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There is a point where this stream bed funnels through as a small canyon waterfall. One must climb up the granite, elevating maybe 30 feet within a distance of 40.

 

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Just before this, there is a cave above. People used to live here, long ago. Here the sound echoes on the rock walls as we climb.

We reach the top. There is a large area of more smoothed marble-like granite. This is a destination. On full moon nights, the world lights up and you can see for miles in the desert mountains. There is a different quality to color in this moon light. It is something like living inside an old black and white television screen. It is wonderful to take the relatively quick hike up here, to lay down on the smooth surfaces, relaxing and watching the deep blue sky, while listening to the silent night.

The temperature, today maybe 70F, is wonderful with a calm airflow. The absolutely clear turquoise skies allow for the sun’s uninterrupted gifts. I have just nearly ripped off my shirt and DF has removed her pants, when we hear voices. It’s the other hikers! We reverse our procedures.

We find that it is a neighbor, one who is familiar with and accepting of our home nudity, but not aware of our naked hiking. However she is accompanied by a lady friend, who is a stranger to us. We don’t know if we would offend, or embarrass, so we don’t mention what we have been longing to do. We have a chat and watch them as they descend the water shoot, which is slippery today.

I waste no time. As soon as they are out of sight of me, I am naked. I disrobe as I watch them. I know that the angle of sight would only display my body from the waist up. They turn and wave, shouting, “See ya.” I wave back freely nude in stealth.

Saying goodbye to Neighbor Below

Saying Goodbye to Neighbor Below

We relax, snack and wander around exploring.

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The waters are seeping out of the layers of rock; it has ponded in the pools on the slabs.

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Where soil meets solid granite, the moister falls out where it is saturated.

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Things are certainly different here, today. The stream flow glistens blinding silver in the sun.

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The rocks are cool in the shade.

They are warm, or should I say just right, in the sun.

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The textures are a delight to bare feet.

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We lounge, our nude bodies fully enjoying these experiences formally reserved for our feet alone.

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We find shadows in the afternoon to play with, like marionettes on the rock surfaces, as we dance.

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We photograph.

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We explore the special early flora that spring and rains bring.

Minute Flowers

Minute Flowers

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The vistas frame our playground.

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We start our return, as the day begins to chill.

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We watch the east, as the Catalina Mountain range turns red, lighted by the setting sun. Then, slowly, the shadow of our Tortolita Mountain home takes that light, as if growing in stature.

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