After a record burying drought, the monsoon has been exceptional. Weird climate change weather patterns have brought incredible life back to the desert. Amazingly thick foliage now blooms.
The desert streams have been flowing more often than not and all through the day. I even got flooded in and out of the neighborhood one day (it hadn’t happened in years and never from the summer rains). The dry washes that create dips in the roads filled with flowing water. There is risk to be lifted and be swept off the road downstream.
Most of our annual rainfall arrives in these weeks.
As the days go by plant life makes as much use of it as it can. Several species of plants will appear out of a few feet of an empty patch of sandy loam. Under mesquite and palo verde, shade and shelter create space for many more species.
In a few days, flowers appear.
Formerly barren branches of dormant bushes and trees will rapidly accumulate leaves enough to begin to droop from the weight.
Streams will flow.
The Colorado River Toad will awaken at the first sense of moister to mate and deposit tadpoles wherever water stands.
Predators will feast.
It is a whole new spring-like fifth season, and many plants only bloom at this time. The Saguaro have given their bounty of its seed laden buds which have been feasted on and distributed by about every species on the desert, readying for the nurturing rains. Mesquite dripping with seed pods in June, now have dropped them in anticipation. Shriveled succulent cactus will soak moister and expand themselves into reservoirs. Monsoon is life in abundance.
So it’s hiking time in my Tortolita Mountains. Friday, my then girlfriend Judy and I went up and into them. We stopped along the trail and went down a rock/boulder stream that was moving quite well.
There were tubs of whirling water to sit in. We had to get completely barefoot naked, or soak our shoes. Of course, the climbing on the rocks was much easier nude. The footholds were better and we could stretch more completely without the restriction of material clothing. The sensual experience of humid air and the grounded touch of the textures of the earth are delightfully natural.
Everywhere, the new foliage is verdant and new. Hot granite surfaces are cooled in shade, hillsides are buried in green sprouts.
The lichen and moss develop rich color like a putting green where it is accumulated in the crevices of the formally rock slopes.
Along the way, flowers dot the landscape in all colors and many varied shapes.
The tiniest blossoms of life require macro lenses.
Both red and blue trumpets flare on parasitic vines.
When it started to sprinkle, Judy the ever ready happy rock climbing fool, methodically climbed up the side of a cliff about thirty feet to get a view of the panorama.
There were miles of vista. She wanted to see if there was strong rain happening upstream. There is always the chance of flash floods in the mountains and we didn’t want to be swept downstream or watch all of our belongings pass by. We had left our belongings a ways upstream from our current position. She looked so cool stretching with her hand holds and her muscles acquiring definition, as she pulled her weight up the rock face, natural and athletic.
We continued, our day was filled with varieties of life wherever we went.
We discovered the remnants of a Hohokam dam hundreds of years old down there. We recognized that the lichen on the rocks was many years old, so the dam wouldn’t be recent.
These ancient (comfortably nude by the way) natives would dam for water recovery and grow agaves primarily and other edibles. We discovered a number of ancient pottery shards that had been uncovered by the rains.
Judy, as the nature woman, tends to try eating anything along the trail. She munches at things she is familiar with.
She picked up a caterpillar like creature that was unburied and had been washed downstream. These things live underground for 7 to 13 years and then come out to breed and become cicadas. She was attempting to get courageous enough to eat the drowned creature when it started to move. She doesn’t kill things, she’s vegan. Well, she’s a vegan with a fantasy to eat grasshoppers.
The last year, Judy had been coaching my health. We are both pleased at the result. My endurance has improved dramatically and cholesterol is now stable. I’m 40 pounds lighter. So, what does a girlfriend do with that? She takes a silly picture. I couldn’t have changed my unhealthy routine without her.
These bushes were just sticks a couple of days before.
The plentiful, but non-indigenous edible nopalote pads are beginning their new growth.
Grasses begin to cover everywhere. A meadow appears.
Artesian water begins to leak out of rock slabs. In some places energy shifts.
There is enough humidity that water drops are still sitting on leaves.
This Part I of this series has been a nude naturalist excursion in the nude. I hope that you get a sense of the wonder of life in the Sonoran Desert. Part II, to publish in a few days has a naturist story with the wonder of nature around it. Part III a few days later will again return to an emphasis of a more naturalist presentation, where we happen to be nude. These are presenting the unique Baja Arizona monsoon, which most people have never known.
The photos were collected over the entire season.
We have been craving/praying for rains here these latest couple of years. It is a good time to celebrate the coming new season.