Posts Tagged With: free hiking

The Verde Hot Springs

2019-09-16

Our destination is the ‘ol hot springs on the Verde River. The plan is to spend three days with a couple of side excursions into Fossil Creek’s sweet riparian area.

I am gambling, but thinking that odds are in my favor. After being extremely sick the week previous, I figure that I’m left with just a little recovery to deal with. The hot springs and subsequent skinny dipping in blue green waters in the mountains near here will be my healing.

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New Years Day 2014

We got a late start after a late New Years Eve…of course. When we began our drive up into the mountains, it was around noon plus thirty. The goal was to visit the petroglyphs that we had been to once before:

https://thefreerangenaturist.org/2017/09/08/in-search-of-tortolita-petroglyphs-a-trip-report/

It is winter time and the rattlesnakes are asleep with most of the local reptiles. We can bushwack, step over rocks and climb without fear of disturbing those fellows. The vegetation is more sparse and easier to see under and move around when naked. It is a time when I’ll survey the 55 saguaros that grow on my property and revisit terrain that is too dangerous at other times.

It sounded weird to us as the radio told us the date was in 2014. The reported temp on the radio was 66F downtown as we slowly plodded our way up the 4×4 trail, which has been severely eroded. We weren’t sure what to expect for wind-chill, but the forecast was eight miles per hour at most. To a delight, as we parked and exited the SUV, I was stunned by the absolute surreal silence about us and the warm sun on my nude body. We were in the heart of the Tortolitas.

As we ascended the mountains, a guy on a mountain bike had switched places with us twice, but he was soon going another way. The place was obviously all ours. We had been concerned because people’s New Years Day outdoor activities can detract from our elbow room.

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Checking out Bear Wallow

2019-08-14

I’m in the Catalina Mountains for a couple of days. I’m on a retreat, a retuning.

I slept in the forest on a hill last night in nude seclusion. After a warm filling breakfast, I’m on my way to a more frequented trail that will lead me to Bear Wallow. It is Wednesday, the middle of the week and I don’t expect many people. I think to just leave all coverings and take risk in freedom, but I’m not absolutely sure what I will find. I don’t want to have my nudity keep me from an adventure into a new place. My journey shall be open ended. I opt for a sarong. I roll it up, place it on my shoulder and use it as a cushion for the straps for my water bottle bag and camera.

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Grasshopper Point

2019-08-23

When our granddaughter’s camping trip with us was cancelled, our plans evaporated. We had an invitation in Prescott as a backup.

As we leave home in Tortolita, we are given a sendoff by a new neighbor. A young tortoise is passing through on the front patio. It is small, cute, but now big enough to be established. We make an offer for the tortoise to house sit and take off.

As more backup planning, I have made a completely different itinerary based on the current weather patterns. We now plan to be doing day hikes in the Prescott area. With this Friday off, we set out for an old stomping ground of mine, one that I hadn’t visited in decades, Grasshopper Point, up by red rock Sedona.

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Camping Solo on The Lemmon

2019-08-13

I took off to the woods. I needed a reprieve, to be as one, to pay attention to the here and now. I needed to smell pines, deal with what is in front of me and be natural. I went up to a familiar secret spot. I knew of a flatter spot up on the hill above. I envisioned myself there, legs crossed next to my tent, eyes closed meditating, fool on the hill, centered, grounded, myself.

There is something very different about camping alone in solitude.

I grab my backpack, shoes and a sarong wrap out of the back seat and head around a hillside. One hundred feet off of the road, I’m done with the sarong and smelling pine air.

I find the spot, but it isn’t at all flat. I begin a search of the whole area for something better. There’s a quarter mile, or more, around here and this is going to need to be it?

I find a spot hidden behind some trees, but something isn’t just right. I want to be able to leave my stuff, and just walk away. This has been envisioned as stealth camping, but hidden in plain sight. It doesn’t fit. Somehow, I’m attached to that vision on that hillside.

I leave the search to make do at the original objective. Continue reading

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More About Redington Pass

2009-ish

Redington Pass missed out on its monsoon rains this year. It has been a sad and befuddling experience to arrive and to find naked people sitting in the shade and waiting for water in the rocks.

There are times of drought, in Tucson. There are mini-climates in this area. An entire region is sometimes flooded and next door there is drought. The Rincon Mountains didn’t produce the cascades to flood the canyon. There was some rain, but it only produced ponds and no flow. Where a black wall of water used to roll in everyday like clockwork, extremes have taken over.

I’ve been looking at some old pictures of Redington. They are of DF and me back in 2009 and 2013. I also found a couple of incomplete stories. Since Redington has only been given a lush spring, another story to come, I’m going to piece together some memories.

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In Observance of Desert Flowers

2014-09-20

The monsoon has been different, coming out of a drought, odd weather patterns and lastly some late spinoff from a couple of Mexican hurricanes. The desert is now back to green, especially the last couple of weeks, so we have decided to see what these rains have created for us up in my Tortolita hills.

We take off in the truck Saturday morning through the neighborhood, sitting on our clothing, a sundress for DF and a bath wrap for me.

We drive as far as we now can and park in front of a new gate.

We begin our walk, me with wrap in hand and DF with the dress hanging on her waist, just in case. It is a relatively short trip to the wash that we have decided to explore, just a couple of football fields uphill. We will be less likely to see others up the wash except a possibility of local neighbors.

It is looking very beautiful.

This is a story to pay homage to the desert flowers of the monsoon season. I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but DF is a trail name. It stands for Desert Flower. She deserves some homage, too.

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Hidden in the Woods

I have a special spot. It is not well known, nor frequented. Its access is easy.  It is comfortable, trees tower above, grass and mountain flowers carpet the ground among pine needles.

I make sure not to make tracks, or develop a trail. I make sure to not let anyone on the highway see me enter the forest. Sure people find it, there is actually a path worn through it.

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Hutch’s Pool: Part II

2019-05-18

 

Day II:

It is very pleasant to open sleepy eyes to overhead gnarly oak trees above my head. The overcast that has been clinging to these high mountains has melted away. I remember the full moonlight from the night before. A grey moonlight, that I thought might keep me awake, didn’t stand a chance after such an active day on the trail and climbing around through and over the plethora of rock formations. DF lies beside me. I turn my head as she turns hers. Her eyes are peaceful.

The waterfall sound of the creek rushing through the boulders, washing away its channel through the Earth continues on. A few birds call out. A turtle dove, or “tortolita” coos. Nothing wrong here. We stretch.

I’d forgotten the foam mattresses, which keep the air mattresses from sliding, but we agree that we slept well, even though not tight spoons as usual. We’re ready for a wonderful day, a celebration of life, a birthday. The sun is nearly exactly where it was the day that I was born. This old tree is shading us today.

We are thinking about heading back today. We have put off the decision and brought extra food, just in case. We are feeling the effects of our first backpack foray of the year, a groan here and there. The day and circumstance are beautiful. We would have to leave early to make the 4:30 shuttle, or walk another four miles on pavement. We have appointments the following day and would have to get up and away early….

I ask myself, how would I like to spend my birthday? Pushing a timetable, or making the most of now and putting strife aside?

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Hutch’s Pool: Day I

2019-05-17

We arrived for the first the shuttle at Sabino Canyon Visitor Center. We had had to wait out the weather.

There had been a nearly full moon the night before to walk up to the last shuttle stop. It can be a beautiful hike, but for the asphalt for miles and breaking rules about pitching a tent. We decided that for the five bucks to ride the shuttle, we would ride past the tourists, enjoy the views and be fresh. The tourists will be gone sooner, and we will be on the trail and free.

We are heading up to Hutch’s Pool for a night or two. I have a Birthday to celebrate in proper attire. I want to be with my favorite friend and enjoying my favorite activities. The pool is a favorite, about four miles hike for us. There are clouds over the Catalina Mountain range this morning, but the forecast is sunny. The grey covering is beginning to dissolve as the sun breaks through.

We place our packs on the back seat of the shuttle and listened to the descriptive recording along the way, as we watch the beautiful canyon pass by. The driver is friendly and helpful. I think back years to the last time that I had ridden the old shuttle and the driver’s voice had been our guide. Each one had had a different personality and enthusiasm. This recording sounded like one of those typical Disney movie narrators.

I was surprised as this recording mentioned plans for a dam a few decades ago. It would have killed all that fans out below Sabino Canyon and bury the rest of this wonder under water! Fortunately the funds dried up, so the water didn’t and the catastrophe was averted.

I watch the familiar places pass and remember my first trips up into this canyon. We used to be able to drive up and park on the side of the road before the shuttle. Hidden behind the giant boulders, we would drink cheap wine, smoke and skinny-dip. These days, 1.3 million visitors each year populate our old playground.

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