Eyeing our Vulture Peak objective from afar, I didn't have a single specific recollection of climbing it. But my Bobbie App says we did, and she's seldom wrong about such things. It's highly unusual for me to forget a "checkmark" on a summit during our Peak-Bagging youth. However, as my dear ol' Daddy used to say, when there comes a marital difference of opinion, always defer to beauty :).
Peak Bagging Youth...
All decked out in Richard Simmons "Hot Pants." And get a load of all that thick hair!
Left is Nephew Brent, on a hike up Quandary, a Colorado 14er.
We're both nearly bald now... hair having migrated off to nose and ears 😭😭
|Sonoran Desert: What's not to love...|
Making our way toward a rather menacing looking summit, I noticed not one familiar thing as we wound through Vulture's beauteous foothill approach. "I'll a bet you a "Ben Franklin" that I've never set foot on top of that mountain."
The "App" disagrees... then thinks of fun ways to spend the money.
|Bobbie App; Headed for the top|
I understand that short-term memory is the first thing to go (second, actually... but we won't get into that). But Vulture's missing file is more an issue of longterm memory loss as it happened almost 20 years ago. Perhaps I don't have the dreaded disease... yet, anyway.
Padding along the lovely, still unfamiliar trail, thoughts drifted back to when I took my 80 year-old mom to see her doctor after noticing a few signs of memory loss.
|Cholla... looks soft and furry, but every one of those spines has a "fish hook" barb, It takes needle nose pliers to pull them out (right Bobbie?)|
"Hilda, I'd like to have a chat, get to know you better. Can I ask a few questions?"
He began by asking where she was from, when she was born... how old she was. Mom did pretty good, and relished the spotlight. Of course she gave her usual rambling, long-version answers to the simplest questions, and eventually got around to a favorite story, the one about my Immaculate Conception. If I had a dollar for every time she told that story to some stranger. Brother...
Thankfully, Doc was a patient man and indulged her, while I resigned myself to the futility of attempting to keep Mom on point.
|Fine desert wandering...|
|Neon palo verdes|
|Headed up there...|
|From Vulture's saddle... looking at the taller West summit. Got to make our way up that steep couloir... surely I'd remember doing that.|
Prodded by this sensual overload—the sight of lush desert, the sound of muttering quail, the sweet-pungent aroma of creosote bush—the dam of memories breaks. My childhood gushes in a flash flood... dusty files held captive in some locked drawer caught in the wake. I hear Mom's voice:
Watch out for rattlesnakes, honey, They'll be out today. Scorpions, too.
Go get cleaned up young man... we don't want to be late for Bible Study again.
You know your are going to get a whipping for these grades when your daddy gets home from work...
And my own voice:
Where in the Bible does it say dancing a sin? Why is everything fun a sin?
How come you and Dad can hear God talk and I can't?
I don't know how it happened. Me and Roger were just throwing rocks and one of them hit the windshield... I'm pretty sure it was his rock.
Hey Mom, what's masturbate mean?
Why did God let Sally Jo kill herself?
|Sculptures on the smaller East summit, taken from Vulture's saddle...|
Being a life-long skeptic/cynic, I'm not convinced... at least not this approach.
"Maybe we climbed it from the other side," I mumble.
|Getting closer; getting steeper...|
|A short section of near vertical... Another flattering shot of bobbie's butt :)|
|On top... a broad summit that holds no memory that "I've been here before."|
We hang out, eat an orange... which attracts more bees.
|The Ammo Box holds a Trail Register... interesting read. Time to head down... slowly, carefully.|
|Looking Northwest, toward Wickenburg|
|Looking East from the summit ridge|
Getting down the steep couloir proves slower and harder than going up. And we had to pass the bee-bush again...