We had a Plan….A Desert Outing


We had a plan…loosely. Get up at the crack of dawn and get out to Redington Pass for sunrise, for starters. Well, the overcast clouds are out and we need rest. We are however, here at about 8:00am. We’re going to explore the rest of the Pass when we’re done here. We’ll go out to the San Pedro River on the other side of the mountains. We’ll just see how far we get.

The temps are wonderful and the clouds have gotten fun to look at. Lots of wispy alto-stratus (I hope I have that correct) that make for imagined dragons and such.

Imagined Creatures Fading Away

We head down the trail, discovering an older gentleman at peace on the rock looking down into the canyon.  At the bottom there is a solo friendly sort of guy. That’s it, two fellow nudes. There had been only two cars parked. We don’t even have to cover to get out of the parking area. It is early on Monday morning and heat is promised for later in the day. It is all ours by default. We have the place to ourselves as the heat comes up.

A Breeze Catches Her Hair

The waters are from warm monsoon rains, not snow melt. The temperature is just right. We don’t know what to expect in the way of flow because the storms may burst on one area and not another. We don’t know when the last rain had deposited this flow. So…just right, yes, we discover a flow that is just right. The pools are full. The flow isn’t too much as to make it dangerous or difficult to pass. We can just walk up the stream, where it is a stream. Just right!

We find a spot that we have enjoyed before, but there is a new dimension to it.

There is more warm water.

Bright Sun, Warm Churning Water, Delight!

There is a shoot through the rocks which is enhanced.

The photos depict the way it blankets bodies. It feels like a furry puppy’s coat around us. Just placing our hands creates wonderful curls and designs in the flow of the delightful white water and foam, as it rushes past.

Its massage is better than a Jacuzzi.

This is to become a theme of activity as the day progresses. We find numerous spots where churning water flow presents a series of different sensations to our immersed bodies.

Our bodies will be tossed, pulled, tickled, pounded, caressed and fizzed in waters. There are too many fun ways to describe this.

Where the water slows, there is a rock that I climb onto. A puddle sits where my butt fits perfectly. I lay back and it fits my arms and head. My legs float in the churning water and a lapping of water keeps slapping up against my legs and crotch.

We take turns laying peacefully, being warmed by the sun, cooled by the moister and air…perfect.


Nuff said.

The water gets a golden color to it from minerals in the surrounding mountains. We are given the sight of what looks like wires, or little golden lightning bolts in the remarkably clear water.

It gives a golden hue to our feet and many of the rocks below the surface.

The pictures can’t give justice to the color, or effervescence. It is like swimming in BEER! Maybe color comparable to a Mexican Corona. Just lovely.

We hike up stream a tad, totally bare naked, nothing, leaving our belongings behind. We stay in the stream as much as possible, because the rocks are starting to get very hot to walk on for extended periods of time. The stream glistens. It flows like a mountain stream with minor waterfalls, only this is in a desert canyon.

Light Shines Through the Ceiling in a Grotto

It is time to leave. We put everything into the back pack and that is the only thing worn between the two of us. When we reach the base of the trail leading back up the canyon walls, we get into a last cooling dip.

DF puts on Fivetoe KSO’s and me, Invisible s\Shoe huaraches.

We climb up and out of the canyon at 12:30PM. Out of the depth and breeze of the canyon, it is hot and it seems to take much longer than going in. We are blessed when the sun goes behind one of the cumulus clouds for a time and a light breeze blows through to cool us.

The parking area is not populous, we don’t have to cover our bodies. We can leave naked. In the SUV, we slip our shoes off of our feet for comfort and freedom, and then we are on our way.

The Plan Part B

The second part of the plan is to travel out the Redington Pass road in the 4×4. Neither of us has been out this way in years. We have miscalculated water consumption and we are beginning to run low. We decide to go anyway, in air-conditioning. We do have three kinds of grapes for moister. We will just minimize more walking.

We find some shooters along the road enjoying themselves using junk metal and cans for targets. There are some new facilities where there had never been any. A toilet and a kiosk. Across the road from here, we see two government helicopters parked in the middle of nowhere, practicing something.

I find the road to Cheba Falls, which is a 40 or 60 foot waterfall. This road is full of dangerous 4×4 acrobatics to get to the falls. Maybe, another time.


We continue on this main road about 20 miles, or about two hours. As the geology changes colors, we stop to pick some interesting red rocks.

Stopping and climbing out naked, I just have to turn the engine off to listen for other vehicles. There are none.

It is isolated here on Monday. From the time that we pass the helicopters staging area, we see only other three cars on the road, a sign for a ranch, a few other signs and nothing else but natural scenery. There is nothing but high grassy desert, in all of that time, with mountain ranges in the distance. I stand in the middle of the graded road naked, clothed only by the shade of a passing cloud.

I then, roughly patch together a panorama demonstrating the “nothing for miles” situation that we are spending this time in. It is all wide open spaces free from constraint.





The road goes to the San Pedro River and splits.

The San Pedro Valley

One way leads far south, by the riverside, to Benson and I-10. One heads north a few miles to San Manuel, an old copper smelter and mine town. We take the shorter distance. The road runs along the transition of the sandy ridge filled with saguaro and brush and the lush flat bottom of the riverbed’s current course.

The river’s valley is filled with a thick mesquite bosque. The shallow water table has fed a few farm fields. The wildlife is abundant. The river itself isn’t particularly wide. The flow is dependent on the rains that it receives.

Large Nest in Arms of a Saguaro

There is only one encounter incident, which is after getting somewhat down the road toward San Manuel. I spot a crested saguaro on the hill, as we pass it. “Shall we get a picture?” I ask. DF hadn’t noticed it. I back up about 100 ft. or more, quickly, and stop in the middle of the road. I don’t see anyone in the rear view mirrors.

The Crested Saguaro

We are in grand tooleys mode, and clothing isn’t right at hand. It hasn’t been an issue for hours. My pants have found their way between the seats and then behind us. DF has her dress on the floor, but a bag and a map have gotten over it. She hands the camera to me and I begin to point it out my window. Suddenly, I see this large green object in the rear-view mirror beside me and briefly think, “I should have moved off of the road?” Then, a guy in a UPS van quickly pulls up beside us as if to pass, but stops next to us instead. This happens in a moment. I am startled to see him. I have the camera in hand ready to shoot, so my body is twisting toward him, broadside. Sitting tall above in the UPS truck, he can probably clearly completely see DF. After telling him that we are okay and not stuck in the middle of the road, he leaves. When he has pulled away, I see that she now has her sundress covering the front of her body.

We are probably 10 miles outside of San Manuel on a dirt road and have just passed a ranch entrance. DF had just commented on the mailboxes that had no houses or driveways around them. There doesn’t appear to be any real population, yet. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to not pull off of the road. It is straight and I can see a mile in either direction. I haven’t seen anyone for miles. He must have come out of the ranch entrance, just a few hundred feet behind us, or have been driving very fast, because I hadn’t seen him, as I backed up.

It isn’t a big deal really. We would be glad to be accepted nude. We could care less if he has seen our bodies. It might have been an embarrassment for him, if he was some kind of conservative religious fundamentalist, or someone with an unhealthy outlook. Or maybe he might feel that he had inadvertently intruded. I appreciate that he did show concern and was ready to help. I was concerned that he might have been surprised or alarmed that there could be trouble. Lots of thoughts passed through, but if a young healthy guy did see naked people, especially a woman, his reaction, I would think, would be a laugh, a lucky day, something to tell the boys at the bar after work. He didn’t stick around enough to ask. He didn’t say or express anything more.

I do look around and realize that my pants are no longer on the console beside me. I have to look for them. I keep them there even though we are in the middle of nowhere because, well, ya never know. If I were to find an emergency, or stranded driver out there, I know where my gun and my pants are. I can get out to help. There is virtue in being ever vigilant.

Eventually, we circumvent the whole of the Catalina Mountain Range, naked. We only quickly and briefly dress to go into a convenience store in San Manuel to buy water.


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