Saguaro National Monument
Winter is a good time to plan for the coming warm weather, nude hiking and camping. There are those cold times, when just sitting at a computer and that pile of old maps in a cozy warm house, can be a time of daydreaming and research. With imagination, memories of the sense of it all, nude in an Eden, can surface. There is that hope that humans during the millennia have shared for the end of the shorter dark days of winter. Before the weather gets comfortable again, new territory can be explored. It is better to know where you are first hand, to walk the trail and to imagine what the vegetation will be like in the Spring. Being there, so as to get a feel for an area and note the amount of traffic, can only effectively be done in person.
There are small clues which may be used, such as remoteness, notes found on the internet, personal experience in similar situations. Still, we have been surprised on more than one occasion, either having to cover up more often during encounters with others, or being astounded by the freedom.
Here, in the Arizona Sonoran Desert, we often have days when the temperature rises. However, when nude, it often sits, make or break, in a comfortable balance with just the direction and velocity of the breeze and the cover of a cloud. A day may have a wonderful feel, but only for a few, too short, hours. Any opportunity needs to be exploited, because we don’t know when the next opening for a warm experience will appear. This year, with La Nina in the mix, we are in an extreme drought. But this also means more days of blue sky and less cold temperatures in the dead of our comparatively mild winter.
This Monday promises to be beautiful. DF has the time off. We decide to make use of the opportunity. We need to keep our hike in a lower elevation, to take best advantage of the inherent warmth of the desert. Even my old home in Tortolita, a mere 500 feet higher than Tucson, it can be four or five degrees cooler. We choose the Saguaro National Monument on the west side of the Tucson Mountains, hoping for the best.