In the morning, we take off upstream. The sun and blue sky come out, the temps are wonderful. The water is flowing in the creek. We go as far as we can, taking photos along the way and deciding which is the best of many ponds. We are able to travel nearly all the way by climbing the huge rock slabs that the creek travels through. It is bare granite mountainside, always denuded of soil and vegetation. After exploring, we go back to the most favored pond.
More of the Desert Monsoon
Each year sometime around early July, give or take a couple of weeks, Tucson begins it’s Monsoon Season. Warm rains are pulled up from Mexico each day, generally in a deluge. Often there is seen across the valley, a black wall of water with elongated bolts of lightning with resounding thunder. The sonorous bombardment has often made me wonder. Could the name of our Sonoran Desert home be derived from these experiences?
There is entertainment each day. For instance sunset and sunrise explodes with awe inspiring color, like few places in the world. The night skies can be fascinating and are world renowned fireworks displays. Bolts flash clear across the sky in fingers while thunder crashes down shaking buildings.
The dry washes flow and rage with water. Life comes back to the desert after the usual seasonal drought. Flowers bloom, animals get active, it is an extra season like spring, but this time with more extreme temperatures. Many plants are geared to bloom to this timing. Some do so, only during this time of year. It is a fifth season.
The weather is great, irresistible. It is mid-week, a Tuesday. We have had a cold stretch and I am tired of shivering. I just have to get some sun and hike. The days before, I have been only able to take less than an hour to walk around amongst the sixty acre area just behind my house. This is an opportunity.
I decide to drive up to where the target wash is. I need to run in 4×4 some each month for the maintenance of the truck. It will also save the time and effort of climbing the hill. With this distance covered, I can then hike that much further and deeper into the Tortolita Mountains.
I want that sense of unabashed freedom that a completely nude commitment gives. As the old border rat smugglers used to say, “I feel like throwing my balls over my shoulder.” There is less likelihood of meeting someone by taking the route up the wash. It would be risky to hike up the hill further, following the road with nothing to put on quickly. I leave all back up covering behind, taking only fivefinger shoes, one bottle of water and a camera. I would take less, but this is a desert and I have chosen this hike to feel remote and alone. It is my mood, my whim. I guess that I’ve been too cooped up for too long. If I have an encounter, then there is nothing to be done. I could put a bottle in front of my crotch and smile, greeting whoever, pleasantly. That would make me technically legal. The odds are fully in favor of having no encounters today. I will risk the outside chance of an encounter with a neighbor, or another hiker.
Patgonia Lake is near the Mexican border, south of us. One has to travel into the border town of Nogales and then out a peaceful, quite beautiful country road to the lake. It is formed by a dam. For details and a pretty video: http://azstateparks.com/Parks/PALA/index.html
We had reconnoitered this lake the previous Fall.