2014-09-22 and the week that follows:
Tiredness wears off with infusion of the invigoration of the fun of it. I decide to explore a bit further in search of shade and adventure. I just go off carrying nothing, wandering, wearing absolutely nothing. Followed by Elaine, we climb upward. The usual route is cut off with hard flow. We have to climb up a small foothold, a line of cleavage on a boulder, then pivot around one limb at a time in balance to get to the other side, like some gymnastic exercise. I place one foot, then another further up, gripping to the rock. Then, as I push up with the lower foot, it slips. Fortunately I still have a two hand grip and one foot hold and don’t fall off. Elaine follows carefully.
The familiar place with two trees has had a nice sandy beach on its west side, but now, this has been washed away in the flooding torrents. We cross the stream, climb up the sheets of granite and find that there is a cliff bottom in shade. It should remain so all day. We would need no tarp here.
There is a constant light breeze of cool air here on this nice flat shelf. It has something to do with the air currents and the cooling effect of the water’s humidity and the shade. It might as well be air-conditioned. The rest is in the 90’s F with the radiant reflections off of the granite. This will make a good base for the heat of the day, nude. The view is wonderful, there is a smooth granite slope right into the waters below. Our stuff will be safely kept, as it is difficult to get to, if we were to leave the spot.
As we are climbing back to get Buck, a young lanky young man comes through. He will be the last person that we will see here today. After gathering our belongings and Buck, we return to our perch under the cliff.
We all sit, or lay about. We have a snack lunch.
We wait until the next leg of our journey is intuitively ready to begin. Buck decides to stay back and sleep. He tells us that he will catch up.
We leave. I tie my shoes (just in case) to my water bottle strap and take the camera. I want to be light and move freely, climbing through the rocks, each step in full body movement, as something fresh. We come to a waterfall and the young man, who apparently had found no way to go further. I do know how, a route. We climb the rocks a bit downstream. “You take the high road, and I’ll take the low, and I’ll get ta…” keeps coming back and repeating itself throughout the day.
We next come upon the wonderful spot where the stream divides into several waterfalls and makes amazingly smooth exquisite curls and curves through the granite. I had planned to show Elaine, but they are all filled up on this day. Instead, we find small vortices, whirlpools amongst glassy flowing waters. I am able to observe and learn more about the water patterns that have formed these granite sculptures over time.
It is time for a cooling dip. Here we see a ridge of short waterfalls and I surmise that there will be a relatively deep swimming hole at their base. This isn’t permanent water. I know how it looks, or ponds with different levels of water, but not this. This is like a whole new canyon.
We stay in the refreshing waters for quite a while. I am up to my neck and covering my nose and cheeks from the sun with my hat. I take precautions; I’m staying with my back to the sun. I am concerned about burning my skin with this much time and the reflective waters. I have resolved to risk it and just do my best to mitigate to effects of exposure. This place is just too good and special to limit the experience.
Later, I do return to town at the end of the day, with a very rosy taint to my tan. The tip of my nose has probably burned. I know that I have to stay out of the sun for a couple of days and heal, resting.
All of the while, I am thinking about and discussing camping for a couple of days in this wonderland nature park, sleeping under the stars in my bivy bag, fasting and living simply. DF has Friday off. We will spend some more time up here before the water dissipates. There may be more rain next weekend, continuing the flow, so I may just do that campout and study. I can’t seem to get enough of this. This just shouldn’t be wasted.
Back to the current story, we spend our time talking and meditating.
Elaine finds a smooth crevasse to lie in covered in water, which is a few yards downstream. I stay floating, stretching bending, listening, and watching bubbles travel by. There are many fresh clean bubbles, like a bubble bath in many places. I squeeze them through my fingers. Their resistance between my palms is felt. I watch how long the huge ones last and surmise why they break when they do. Nothing could be more occupying than this refreshing bath. Everything important in this universe is right here in any given moment.
As I slide out of the water, I look down at the amber colors in the water, with the different colored granite formations seen in the clarity. I am sitting on a boulder that is mostly submerged, but I know that rock. I had sat upon it once before with DF when it was just sitting on top of the sand. There I see my shadow. The water is smooth with a light ripple effect to it. It is something fascinating to me. A very entertaining effect is happening. My silhouette shadow is emanating long spikes from its head! There is a white glowing aura around it and it is vibrating in an arch. It is an energetic looking figure amongst the many variations of color and hue. Nothing in any psychedelic representation could match this. It is so alive, vibrant and so unlike a shadow that I begin to talk to it, as if it were intelligent. I smile passionately to it, “You are amazing.”
I walk on submerged rock, dry rock, and submerged sand across solid granite surfaces to where Elaine is laying. Wow, she has found the perfect spot. It is as if her body has become a part of the rock, melding. “I have something that you must see.” After having shown her this wonderful place and shared the experience, she has no reluctance to follow my suggestion. I grab my camera and show her her electric shadowy form. I attempt pictures of the beautiful phenomena and as I suspected, its glory is diminished when the form is frozen in the shot. Oh well, a less full card for a video could have captured more.
At this point I suggest that we check on Buck and lay out of the sun. When we return, I stand above him, he is sprawled on his back peaceful and still. I actually check to make sure that he is still breathing. He comes to. He has had a powerful rest where he could hear nothing but the waters, that is until, as he tells it, “a bird spoke.”
We rest and decide to make the climb out on the new unkempt back trail rather than negotiate the flow and rocks. It is getting later and the cooler time when snakes will move about. I can’t know how well the trail that I had only used once during drought will be covered with foliage, which hides snakes. The good side is that the entire ridge uphill is now shaded.
The climb works out as I walk one foot step at a time in mindfulness. The naked activities of the day have been a good training for this. I am aware of the potentials, before each step forward. We arrive where it meets the other trail, which is better cared for. I make a point to remember where that is for possible use, later.
At the road side, Elaine and I decide to wrap up to walk the next fifty feet to the 4×4, me in my wrap, and she in a sarong. There are people at their cars. Buck has already dressed at the bottom of the canyon to tramp through the desert foliage.
In town, the east to west roads run directly upon the lines of latitude. The setting equinox sun sits directly in the middle of the streets for a while. It is blinding. We make it back and are greeted with a smile from DF at the door. She has stripped off after a day’s work, tossing her clothing, a smile is all that she needs.
DF and I return Friday morning after the previous Monday’s trip. The waters are much more peaceful here and accessible.
After three days of draining, the mountains are producing much less flow.
Perhaps the rains tonight will be strong enough to revamp the areas with grand torrents. If so, I’m going to head out here and stay a couple of days, watching this process of diminutive changes.
I’ll be exploring and taking it in early and late, when all of it is mine. I’ll be here when the light makes the colors change, when the surfaces cool and warm, in the quiet of the night and reigniting dawn.
The uneven granite surfaces are wonderful training for my feet, coordination of the body and soul. I mindfully experience each foot step and associated movement.
As we begin to drive into the area, I discover new places deep in my foot that need to be massaged out. With deep massage, very old emotion comes out of these places. Afterward, the feet exhibit even more amazing discoveries of what they can do. As pictured, I sit in a comfortably in a natural tub, enjoying this caressing process.
We rest and are refreshed in the perfect waters.
We find recklessly discarded bottles of BEER and other waste. We collect a pack full and DF then dutifully packs it out for the pigs who left it behind. I do wish that these types would stay down where the textiles have taken over, to regularly trash their own area.
I mentioned earlier my intention to come back and to stick around, if it rained. It did.
I pull up in my SUV toward evening a couple of days later, ready for a solo retreat. Parking, I then pull out my ready done pack and begin my descent. There are a couple of guys camped just to the north a hundred feet or so, that are eyeing me carefully. These two look rather seedy. I don’t feel a trust or bond from them.
I have a minimal camping outfit. There are few places to anchor a tent without going to lots of effort. It is getting late. My solution is to sleep in my bivy with a pad on one of the smooth granite surfaces that I enjoy lounging on so much naked, baking in the sun.
At the first pool, I find a spot. With the now moderate water flow, the stream on this large surface is split in two. There is a small stream on each side, making it like an island. They are a small hop across for me, but a bit more trouble for an animal, or any night crawling insects. The plan is to perch there, and nude in the evening, watch the stars floating over between the canyon walls.
I set up, but I keep getting this creepy feeling about those two men at the parking area. It gnaws at me. I lay down, stretching out and crossing my legs, arms crossed behind propping up my head, to relax. The sound of the waterfall should be all that I hear, but I’m hearing inner voices. Those two just won’t allow me to forget about them. My imagination has a vision of returning to a truck with no wheels
I decide to pack up in the twilight and make the climb back up to my truck. I open the rear gate and create a bed by folding down the rear seats. I crack my window open for a breeze, grab my pistol and pillow. I watch the glistening lights of Tucson expanding across the valley into the distance. I find myself falling asleep.
In the morning, the two worries have left. I heat up some oatmeal and pack up again. This will be a glorious day. Ready and spirited, I once again make my way down the trail, free and naked.
As I am about to reach the bedrock bottom, I take a familiar stair step onto a rock. The straw breaks the camel’s back. I’m completely surprised, as the rock gives way. I watch myself falling forward helplessly downhill. The distance dropping down is several feet, there is nothing to grab onto, only to fall and make the best luck of the landing. I crash. It hurts. There is pain. I whisper “shit, shit shit’ over and over as I cripple, limping the distance to the lovely rock surfaces below. I sit, still whispering my obscenity, still feeling shock. I evaluate, breathe in and out and attempt relaxation.
“Sheeit, shit, whew.”
After a short time, I am seeing swelling, I clean the blood away that has dripped into my sox and shoe. It is finally calming down. Nothing appears broken, “Ouch.”
It is evident that this injury will become a problem. For a couple of days, there will be no fun. It is also evident that when more inflammation happens, I will have difficulty climbing back up that hill. I do the climb. It hurts with each step, but I tell myself that it happened where it did and that is better than further in. Then, I feel disappointed that it happened at all. How many times have I stepped safely onto the a very same rock through the years?
I climb up, pulling myself high into the elevated truck with a lift kit, pulling on a strap. I have to stretch the muscles, creating more pain. I have always repeated that nearly everything is better naked. This may be an exception. There were no pants to slide off, to stain, to stick to the wound. There might have been less abrasion with pants…pain is pain, it doesn’t get any better.
I work my way home, an hour’s drive. I do my best not to shift gears. Lifting the leg and pressing the clutch is agony.
I sit around for a few days. Things get better, but I’d rather be bouncing around in that canyon.