(please, be sure to check the stories of Redington earlier in this month’s posts)
Today, there is much less water than just a few days before .
The thing about Redington Pass is that there is little norm here. The water doesn’t always flow. There are often times of drought, when only pools can be found, and then those times pools turn to puddles, when life clings on, waiting for the next rain.
We were expecting more water today, because last night there was a nasty storm on the east side of our valley out by Barb’s house. She told us that it was like a “hurricane” for hours. That’s just over the hill from where we stand.
We saw on the way here, that two familiar mesquite trees are uprooted. Sand is all over the roads where water was flooding. A concrete block wall was knocked over, creating a pond in someone’s enclosed backyard. Water rushed in, but couldn’t rush out, flooding like the entire backyard was a swimming pool.
Apparently, there was no storm here at the pass. There is no evidence of flooding.
Today, it is so much easier to climb through the waterfalls and rapids. We climb from rock to rock, attempting a challenging game of not disturbing the pristine sand with our footprints. Besides, the grit from the soles of feet is slippery on the smooth rocks. Not just for us, but the next climber.
There is another good reason to stay out of the sand. In shoes, each time, no matter what we do, our low sock tongues attract a collection of gritty particles. If we don’t stop to rinse out our footwear, it becomes uncomfortable and then our skin gets raw.
I do very much like to walk this playground barefoot all over. My feet love the workout. The plethora of surfaces and sensual stimulation delights us. The naked feet decision depends on the wetness, slipperiness, the temperature of the rocks and how far I intend to hike. It is a delight to just take off completely bare and unencumbered to explore in a completely primal sense. I feel extra freedom, abandon and sensitivity, as I walk away from everything. I feel more at one in the experience.
This day, the Jacuzzi formation is easy to use. It no longer carries us away in a mass of suds. It feels great, as we take turns to sit in the tub.
We stop frequently along our haphazard route to enjoy the water and cool off.
I mention to DF to consider what would it be like with clothes on? There would be no cooling breezes. Our apparel would be partially wet, heavy and dragging in the water. Our movement would be restricted, as we climb and hold up pants legs, knees hung up in a sling and holding the bundle of clinging coverings. All of thousands of sensual sensations would be diminished, or lost to us. We couldn’t just pop in and out of the water at a whim. Our body heat would be trapped. We would be insulated from our very being.
I imagine bathing apparel, filled with sand. This place demands naked abandonment. It is too dangerous to be pulling up a swimsuit while crawling and climbing slippery rocks. It is too easy to have a suit caught by the stream and dragging at your knees, being pulled by force, chained legs in bondage, unable to climb through the force of it all. In my bias, thought brings me to realize the fact that people have actually died because of unnecessary clothing.
On a hot day, a refresh in the cool waters and a soaking wet cotton shirt allows DF to carry that refreshment up the trail a while longer. “So that’s what clothing is for, I quip.” It protects skin from rays, too much radiation, a harmful burn… but that is because you haven’t gotten naked in the sun enough lately.
Where a waterfall was stunning, the contrast is also stunning.
Another difference is that there are now fewer people than before, when the big water was rushing through here. There is more calm and peace about.
Stopping at the rock formations where I had been tossed around like a babe in the arms of Mother Gaia, there is much less flow. This visit, I’m able to easily climb across the creek to the other side and inspect.
We rest in some shade cast from the cliff.
This was the same place before:
While I sit, a Great Horned Owl appears overhead and lights upon a rock formation that hangs out. It is unusual to see one out and about in the desert, in the daytime. They are usually nocturnal.
This sighting brings to mind a reminisce of dark evenings decades ago. We used to take my open top, door-less jeep, with its large tires up the sandy, muddy, Tanque Verde riverbed. This was downstream from where we are, now. Drinking beer, naked in the fresh riparian night air, we would spot huge owls up in the ancient cottonwood trees. They would swoop away, razed by our headlights. Some had wingspans six or seven feet across.
Maybe this smaller one is a refugee displaced from the storm last night. Maybe it lives near here and just got harassed by the big cat that we have been smelling in the passing air, on occasion, today.
We make our way upstream, until we are at the opening, where the canyon walls stop. The whole current of streambed has changed. We walk around, figuring where we had spent my birthday in 2015 (Published in May 2018). Everything has changed after those years and a few strong storms. There are stacks of wood up in the trees and sand bars where ponds once lay.
Further on, the Olympic sized pool is mostly shallow.
The rocks here are very hot. There are red and dark ones, like a skillet in the flame of the sun. We can’t climb on them using our hands.
The sun leaves no shade for us. We sit with black umbrellas and have a one-handed lunch.
Time is spent floating in the pond. We have fun, and refresh.
As nice as the water is, we are tired by the 105F heat. We feel tired walking back. This afternoon, it seems to be a longer walk, when going the same route in the opposite direction.
Three turtles scurry through the water, with the dace fish and tad poles.
“THE rock, the big manatee shaped one, has more sand around it, than before. All of the vegetation is thicker.
We keep smelling that big cat.
The flow at the Jacuzzi is much less, when we return, after the six hours that we’re away. We need more rain. The water is disappearing quickly.
I collapse on a cool rock in the stream. I tell DF, “I’m just gonna die happy, now.” It has been quite a day, quite a walk.
The water temperature is warmer. I sit across the flow, massaged across my legs, torso and back.
At the main pool, we see Bryan from last week, again. People come here and then can’t stay away.
Brilliant golden lightning hits the water. Reflection from ripples on the rock walls creates a dancing light show.
We eventually find the fortitude to hike the last leg of our journey.
It gives me faith to see several young nude hikers walking down the trail to have a beach party. Yep, does my heart good.
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Enjoy your posts, your descriptions and observations, and your photos. Keep doing the good work (and play).
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