We’re in a remote Arizona canyon. The weather is wonderfully warm for November. The Fall foliage is stunning. We don’t know it yet, but it gets even better the further back into the canyon that we go.
See “Part I” here: https://thefreerangenaturist.org/2021/12/09/arizona-fall-colors-pt-1/
The next morning, we start at our leisure. I had been up for a surprisingly warm orange juice colored sunrise, but went back to bed.
Voices are heard. Two or three hikers walk by briskly up the canyon. They are the only ones about. They probably came from that group of RV’s a couple of miles down the road. This is a vast playground, all to our naked selves.
Today, we will continue upstream. Yesterday, the color got more dramatic, the further we went up the canyon. I wonder if it will continue as that. We will walk at our leisure, immersed in it all, cameras recording the gems. No more plan is needed, other than a good trail lunch, water and snacks.
That overcast from Mexico, which left in the night, is back. This time, it has pressed further north of the border. It may damper our camera lighting. The more dull light seems to give these leaves a greater florescence, like it does desert flowers. There are few flowers seen, some lavender ones pop out here and there, while hungry bees search in vain.
I look up through the canopy. The color ends just above the canyon floor.
We will be experimenting with light and color all day. The camera can be fooled. We have not had leaves like this to capture before. There is shade and when the sun comes out there are beams and the danger of images, or parts of them being washed out, or darkened.
Compensating and being observant is always in consideration through the lens.
In the shade, there are swarms of gnats. They don’t bite, but, these little fellows are numerous and hover in our faces. The danger is breathing, then sucking one up a nostril, which I nearly do. I find a use for the long sleeve t-shirt that I’m carrying, in case. I walk through the forest like a penitent naked monk swishing, swatting my back, one shoulder at a time. With me, there is no shame, nor guilt, however. They come and go as we walk along.
The maple’s diminutive leaves are in numerous colors.
DF directs my attention to the touch of them. The underbelly is smooth like velvet. I swear that I feel a soft blanket of energy, as I place my fingers under its shadow, just an inch or so, near.
A beam shoots through the canopy where one lone tree, a child, or dwarf sits illuminated. Its leaves are magnificent for its youth.
DF smiles and touches, smiles and gazes and then smiles at me.
She spins around looking out at opulence. Her earthy brown tan form is turning, dancing, amidst color.
There are more variations in colors than imagination, and every passing bit feels like a grand surprise.
Sometimes, there is a special light, as the afternoon sun comes out and the overcast recedes. It shines past the multicolored foliage, picking up the color. Yellow light appears, producing yellow tints on us and everything.
Then red, orange and pink glow flood all vision, as we pass other tree’s dominating colors.
Yesterday was the end of the celebration of Diwali, the Indian festival. We gave thanks to Lakshmi, Ganesh and Sarasvati for the blessings that they represent. It is as though our gratitude has been answered in abundance, today. One might ponder if there could be no more than the perfection of this experience.
At this point, we don’t know how much further that we have to go to reach the end of this glorious promenade of color and hue. It is time to find a nice warm rock and to have a picnic.
There is a large flat boulder beside the creek that we can see through the bushes. It is inviting and surrounded by the colorful display. The shade soon shifts and cool air hits us. The best place is in the warmth of sunshine.
We nibble as we turn and look around. In this quiet, all that is heard is the thunderous crunch of our mastication.
We continue up the pleasantly wide trail and it just gets more wondrous. Pockets of splendor appear.
The incredible unfolding of the palette’s combinations continues. The maple’s multiple colors on the floor of the canyon are an intricate carpet. Orange turns to pink and pink to ruby red.
DF had put on a wrap when she felt a chill while dining. There is a particularly red photogenic tree. “DF, take your clothes off” She quickly complies and nestles against the tree to pose.
The shirt is then placed under her shoulder strap for comfort. The day is perfect as we move about. Remaining covered would be silly.
As we touch this welcoming place, the rocks are warm and some also sensually chilly.
Finally, we arrive at that sign that declares “wilderness Area.”
A deep red tree and a red carpet lay before us and soon ends at the demarcation.
I see that he sun is close to going behind the mountain. We need to head back. It is two or three miles and darkness will arrive too soon.
We make our way with a quicker more focused pace. Heads down, we must watch each step. I find two river rocks wobbling under my feet and give DF a warning. The slopes can be slippery, too. We miss the fascinating detail of our casual walk upstream. Still every so often, I’ve just gotta stop and imbibe some natural wonder with wide eyes.
Our trek is downhill mostly.
It is interesting to us how the air changes. The burst of a warm air bubble shreds around DF and me. Then just as quickly, our nude bodies encounter a chilling cold that is making its way downstream along the course of the creek.
Eventually, the canyon shadow has us engulfed and there is no relief in sight. We put on tops to stay warm.
The landmarks seem to be coming at a slower pace. I wonder if we just missed some, until then, they show themselves. We’re getting exercise and looking forward to gathering more wood, a fire and dinner.
Camp arrives. The sun is just leaving it. Here the air stays warmer until after darkness.
At fireside, DF explains how she finds the silence as, “deafening and calm”. Even the sounds are distant and quieted. As we leave the area, twelve or thirteen turkeys in a group cross the road. I stop for them and watch.
Out in the plains, as we approach the farm fields of cotton and pavement, a troop of 16 antelope bring our SUV to a stop. We are watched by the cautious animals as we take photos. When one bolts, the rest follow.
Such abundance and wonder!
Next, we’ll get back to the “Nude Across America” series, still visiting Vermont.
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