After our Monday morning hike, we take off alone in the afternoon:
We have headed back to the house on the hill, a retreat for lunch. Ken goes for his appointment. Amie wants to stay around her home. DF and I head for Mingus Mountain to a trail that Ken has made.
There is more traffic here today, than our previous visit, which was when we enjoyed a nude group hike. Cars cruise by as we prep park on the side of the road. Some slide just enjoying the curves of the mountain passage, like a grand prix.
Parked and secure, we cross the road quickly in sarong and sundress.
It isn’t long before we are safely disrobed walking in the forest. We hear the occasional sound of the traffic on the curve behind us. Soon, the only sounds that we hear will be natural, the grace for our ears.
We don’t know how far we will go, today. Someone has disturbed the trail and it may go deeper into the mountains, now. We pass the locker room, which is what we call a rock outcrop with shelves where we leave our clothing and begin the wandering like the last time.
There are a few familiar places and objects along the way.
This feels more like a Southern Arizona Sonoran forest with more scrub oak and a few cacti.
The morning was spent in a place more akin to a Colorado pine forest. The diversity of Arizona never ceases to fascinate me. A few miles, the position of the sun and shade on a hillside, how often a creek flows and chance, all can provide unique nature in her combinations. One hike, not too long, can bring a change in seasons, or what may even seem a journey to another land.
The alligator junipers are different here. Different from what we are used to in Baja Arizona, they grow a very thick trunk and spread branches from lower places. There is more the look of a giant bush than a tree about them.
Down south, where we live, these same trees have more of an umbrella shape. This would explain the huge stump that we found in the morning. It had been a very large tree, forked at the base. I stood on top of it, saddened about what probably was, a king in the forest. Many of the forests are just recovering from the exploitation of the early settlers.
There, is one tree branch that I am looking forward to seeing again. The branch is just right for hanging above the ground and stretching. I like to do pullups and swing, to exercise my soaz muscles, which are essential to posture and lower abdomen. No longer apes in trees, we still seem to have a need to exercise muscular combinations in this manner. I am avoiding, back pain, and enhancing all of the health associated with the spine as that system connects the rest of the body. I find that doing this naturally with a tree, instead of gym equipment, just has an aesthetic sense about it. The action seems to lose its sense of work. After all, what does a kid do with a tree branch but play? This branch is a comfortable thickness and is covered with smooth bark. It is a friendly other being.
Along this piece of trail, there is disturbance from what has become obvious as the erosion from people with their horses. The path has no mulch covering, but now is bare rock and soil, kicked up and soon to be washed away. Ken’s hard work, trail building, is in jeopardy. Along the way, they have butchered a small blue spruce to the ground. We can’t fathom why a pleasing harmless little Christmas-like piece of life would be disposed of in such a brash manner.
This is one thing about creating a secret wildcat trail. Ken had made it a wonderful hike, but there is no control to what the next person may do, when it is not an official route. People find these paths and use them to their own purposes, which are often callus, ignorant and destructive.
I’m disappointed to find my hanging branch chopped off and laying away on the ground. Perhaps it wasn’t equestrian friendly. These people have been wastefully destructive. It is too short of a distance for a horse trail. It is too thin, the slopes are too steep and too difficult to cross the highway from the parking area. They probably won’t even be back.
It is still very pleasant here in this small canyon.
We come to the old end of the trail. I’m tempted to climb further to see what a mess that these horse people have created, but here, it is one of the few places that is flat. We need a break. DF has brought our picnic pad. We lay it down and stretch, looking up at the trees surrounding us and the rich blue in between.
In time, I get out the watch. I look up at DF and mention that we may have fallen asleep, or, I chuckle, “have been abducted by aliens.” It feels like a time warp, lost time.
DF chuckles and says, “What’s this about “’we’?”…
…Time to get back for dinner.
I had planned to get the parts, III and IV out before year’s end, but tis the season. Maybe that will happen, otherwise, the finale will be soon into what promises to eventually be the much brighter year that I pray for us all. Happy New Year!
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