Post #85: Snorin’ in the Sonoran

March 20, 2021

While the night desert had been quiet, both of us accused the other of snoring last night. Not the earth-rattling kind but the type of deep-sleep snoring that was accentuated by the quiet of the desert. Neither of us minded.

Stepping out of the truck at dawn
The sky aglow at daybreak
The sun eventually cast its light on "our" campsite cactus garden

The rising sun over the rocky hills bathed the peaks, then the low valley and finally our campsite in morning light as we watched the long shadows shorten and disappear.

We rose leisurely, made coffee and pancakes leisurely, and decided on the day’s activity, leisurely. Our goal today was simple: Not leave. We love the traveling part of travel so much that we have a hard time staying put and we wanted to give it a try. 

Ocotillo
Aloe in bloom, and ocotillo
Saguaro, ocotillo, sagebrush
Cholla and ocotillo

Susan enjoyed photographing the cacti in the morning light. The air began to warm and a gentle breeze blew that was supposed to mature into a full-blown wind event by afternoon. 

People often think of the desert as a vast wasteland of sand. Our travels have shown us otherwise.

The campsite was stark but beautiful in the rocky, mountainous desert, the weather was perfect though wind was coming, and it was peaceful with no neighbors in sight. The day allowed itself to flow. We wouldn’t want to be here in the summer months, but springtime is a spectacular in the Sonoran Desert.

Susan had developed pain in her foot the day before and we didn’t know where she’d stand until she tried it out. When she did, it was obvious she was still in pain and a hike was out of the question. At one point, Susan said she wanted to at least try to walk and pointed to the hills a mile or two distant. 

Normally, we’d have had no problem with such a hike but I was worried Susan might hurt her foot worse if she didn’t stay off of it. She can be stubborn strong-willed so we took off across the trail-less desert, dotted with the ever-present chollas and several other types of cacti, none of which were friendly-looking. 

We donned our sun hats and headed out
We began our hike toward these hills through the cacti obstacle course
The spiny cholla can impale ya

Crossing arroyos on the way was hard due to the steep broken rocks and trying to dodge the cholla (pronounced choy-ah) cactus that also discard some of their soft puffy-looking (but painfully sharp) appendages on the ground. We had light hiking shoes on and I wished for leather boots as some of the spines attached themselves to the sides of my soles. 

"Let's head to these hills instead"

After lots of up and down, Susan realized she wasn’t going to make it the full distance to the steep hills ahead, so we pivoted and walked instead to the somewhat-closer part of the Kofa range.

Once we’d reached the jagged hills, we rested on a couple of flat-ish rocks, keeping a close eye out for tarantulas and scorpions. By now, Susan was limping, so we found the road and headed back to camp where she relaxed while I used pliers to remove a few dozen cactus spines from the bottom of my hiking shoes. Fortunately, the Merrells didn’t let any pass through.

The wind arrived as predicted but with the sun and 75-degree temperature, it was very pleasant. We don’t travel with a canopy so we set up our new suspension chairs in the lee of the truck to get out of the strengthening wind and to eventually provide some shade. Until that happened, we both got a little too much sun (translate: tan for Susan and burn for me). We read and talked and planned (only a little) about the next day when we would head north through the mountains to Prescott—and much cooler weather. We tried to absorb the peace of the desert and focus on the beauty and did a pretty fair job for people who don’t like sitting still for long.

By evening, we replaced our sunhats with caps that kept our hair out of our eyes from the wind

Soon, the sun was setting and we made dinner. The cacti swayed in the wind but there was little dust as there was no sand, only rocks on the ground. We expected the usual peaceful desert night with enough wind to gently rock the truck.

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