We have been up Carr Peak in the Huachuca Mountains. There could be a chance of rain on this mountaintop. We have a downhill walk after a long days hiking in wonderment.
The previous Part I can be found here:
and Part II:
When it feels like time to return, I look to see what is happening with that large storm out west. It seems to be heading down into Mexico and might pass south of us. We haven’t brought our rain ponchos, Arizonans that we are. We speculate the chill that a storm like that could have on our unprotected bodies. We’ll keep one eye open.
DF has been battling an intermittent sense of illness for a while. Even with this, she exerts herself. She declines the backpack experiment once again. She says that maybe she’ll try it when we get to the edifice where we had lunch. She speculates what it is, altitude, or maybe less salt intake than she thought… something.
We are tired, having climbed somewhere around 2800 feet cumulatively. Our sore feet have constantly been tortured with the sharp floor of rocks for several hours.
But, we have just accomplished something. We now know that we can make a pilgrimage to the top of Miller Peak in two weeks. We are not too old, too worn out, or too out of shape. This place is wonderment and is the living definition of the word renewal. The idea of a perfect storm could define our day, but just the opposite, it has been the perfect something else. All factors have combined to bless us with the few days of peak flowering bloom, and the richness of diversity. It is not too hot, nor to cold. This day has been just right. If we had found our way and come up here to the peak first, we may not have enjoyed the side jaunt and learned about the nature of the coming trail.
We decide that that storm cloud should be watched and we should move. How much incredible luck can one get in one day?
The amazing high mountain display still continues to affect us. Each step down has to be carefully placed so not to slip, but who really would want to hurry through all of this.
DF is still not ready to try the pack on. We continue on our way. I stop between an expanse of young trees lining the trail. I face out toward the valley far below.
Even the simple task of relieving a bladder could be a spiritual experience in a place like this, but this is not my fate. Just as I begin, DF warns me that there are a group of hikers coming up on us from uphill. It is one thing to stand smiling on the side of a trail nude, but taking a wiz may be a bit much. It shouldn’t be, it’s a normality in the third world, a simple fact of life, but here we are, in America 2018.
I quickly shuffle down the trail attempting to get control back from myself. My back is to them, and I find a slightly wider spot just next to the trail. DF follows. In that much time, a twenty something trio, two men and a woman, come marching through, not breaking their stride.
The first man smiles, “Say, you guys are sure brave walking through all of these weeds unprotected.”
DF asks them if they have been at Bathtub Springs. We had earlier heard voices in the distance near there.
By the time the female in her little running shorts brings up the end, she is replying to the question, “We actually are doing a loop trail.”
They are gone as quickly as they appeared. DF follows them as I complete my task. Perfect timing again. Everything seems to be perfect, in one way or another.
We continue down the generally narrow path. The skies are now more clear. The valleys and mountains in the distance are better seen without a haze. There are more clouds and their shadows glide over the terrain distinctly. Afternoon light is also casting definitive shadows.
I suggest that, if I hadn’t been in the midst of my business, it might have been interesting to have followed them at their own pace for a while. How do these goal oriented people traverse these trails in quicker time? What do they see, or miss at that speed? She thinks that it is the thick stiff shoes taking the contour of the trail away, plowing through. I mention that that is bad for their knees and ankles eventually. Like the first encounter said, “Whichever way you choose to hike is okay.” I used to have a pair of thicker soled toe shoes.
DF begins to walk with a lighter step. I notice a cute swing to her hips as she glides down the path downhill through all of the new growth.
We revisit all that came before and it is just as beautiful. The afternoon light gives a slight distinction to everything, different from the morning rays.
Things are winding down. It’s downhill all of the way. Even the path’s slope isn’t as strenuous. We drank and ate our way through much of the backpack’s weight.
From behind the mountain to the south, a great dark cloud has appeared. We remember seeing that storm when we had been on top of the mountain. I mention to DF, “I just felt a drop.”
There are a few more. We begin to speculate as we move a bit quicker. DF suggests, “Perhaps it is going to be a “love shower.” I hope for such a natural blessing. A few warm drops on a naked body might do me some good.
In a rainforest-like section, we stop at a familiar rock wall. It was distinctive on the way up. It is covered in moss. There is shade. It feels cozy. My feet hurt, my body is sore. It has been nearly eight hours since we left this morning.
There is a large, smooth, flat rock on the side of the trail, just a few feet down. I would love to lay down horizontal and take the load off of my feet. This stone is angled like a chair’s back. There is a stone shelf to prop my feet on. I lay back expecting relief and feel a cold press on my bare back muscles. I let out a noise. DF looks at me in concern, a bit alarmed. It is an ice pack. I wasn’t ready for a chill. I soon adjust and it soon helps.
Meanwhile DF is stretching. We have worked our calves. She is now working her shoulders.
Water bottles become heavier as a day progresses. DF is going to give the pack a try.
I leave my perch when I have milked the remaining cool out of the stone.
DF walks on. It is as if the pack has magic. I have been ahead of her all day, but now, when she puts on the added weight, she takes off and I have to make an effort to keep up with her.
I’m feeling just more naked and freely limber without the pack. I move differently and I take a few more deep breaths into the surrounding awareness. Nude is just wonderful.
Big drops of rain begin to fall around us. It is a sprinkle, a cooling, a short love shower. Then, it’s gone.
We don’t expect any more hikers, but as we arrive at the stand of tall trees where we first stripped, DF decides to put on her sundress. When I see the trees of the campground, I take the backpack and use the belt to support my sarong.
We finish our soggy sandwiches, sitting on that same flat rock together. I hope that no one comes by. I’m just feeling too tired to put my legs together to compensate for my sarong skirt. I hobble back to the truck and climb slowly into the high clearance vehicle. It is a long drive to Tucson.
When we are properly naked in the truck, I creep down the road among the shadows of pine forest at day’s end.
I pull into the picnic ground at beginning of pavement. I have to get out and change the 4×4 wheel lockers. I’ve had the truck in 4×4 high for stability. My body parts are stiff. With a group of people in the parking lot, I open the door and climb out. I use the door for cover to wrap on my kilt.
We continue through the canyon on the gentle bending road. The grass is very tall.
I move and feel a sting behind my shoulder. I flinch forward. A wasp flies out and crosses along the dash toward DF. She swishes it away, as I pull over on the narrow road. The window is down and I get it out, or at least I’m pretty sure, but not certain in the midst of this painful multi-task. I can feel the stinger still in me, but I can’t reach it. I tell DF where the tweezers are in my pack and she hustles to find them. The sensation is that there are more toxins escaping out of the stinger occasionally. In this, I recall all of the waist deep flowers that we walked through on the mountain and never had a mishap…what are the odds?
We stop at a Circle K for a cold drink. DF favors me, getting into her sundress, getting out of the truck and buying it. I get sit there naked, letting my body to relax. There are several bikers hanging out in a group. A guy from another club pulls up and parks on the other side. He also is in a vest and highlighted in red colors. He walks into the store with his head down. When he comes back out, someone that he knows has pulled up to that side also. An older white haired and bearded fellow in colorful garb, black with suspenders and a top hat gets out. They hug like brothers. When DF gets back, I ask, “Why does this tribal thing about wearing clothes deserve so much energy and simply refusing to play is illegal.”
Home by 8pm. Dead asleep by 9.