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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

After The Storm: "Romancing The Stones"

"She looked out of her window. How blue the sky. The mountain peaks stood up like dark spears. Patches of snow shone in the sunlight, running down to the edge of the vast green belt of forest land…. Arizona! There was no place in the world so full of romance and beauty and natural things that stir the soul."   ~Zane Grey, The Water Hole, 1928

Suffice it to say, the weather's been cold and wet here (and everywhere). We've tried to not let it interfere with getting outside. You see, during inclement spells Goldie tends to shrink.  

So we watch storms come and go from Goldie's Lounge...a comfortable room wrapped with panoramic windows. Clouds swirl about the foothills and Catalina's rugged Mountains: fog, rain, sleet, and finally snow....unnatural amounts of snow...blanket our desert landscape. 

This is one of my favorite boondocks, lush lime green and heavily bouldered...a landscape rife with ubiquitous trails that twist, ascend and descend through otherwise impenetrable vegetation. Water runs in nearly every wash...fed by a slow-release reservoir of deep snow in the Catalinas. It has to go somewhere. There is something about the sight and sound of water flowing in normally dry washes, ankle to knee-deep ice water. Weather is a small and temporary price to pay for once-in-a-lifetime eye candy.

Knowing the main wash is running high and deep and nursing a dire need to get outside to re-explore the desert foothills out our doorstep, we are not particularly fond of doing 7 miles in soggy boots and socks. So we improvise.

Necessity is the mother of ingenuity!  Hefty Bags are now a backpack staple.
High and dry Bobbie....no longer a skeptic of my improvisations. And the bags are even scented!

Prior to bagging up, a threesome of Geezer hikers yelled from the other side. 

"Hey, there's some deep holes. You better take your boots off and wade." 

We waved, then slipped into our spiffy brilliant white bags and waddled across. I predict they will be carrying trash bags from now on, too. 

The threesome, all from Massachusetts, hoofed up the trail ahead of us while we, with a degree or two of smugness, de-bagged our perfectly dry shoes. It would be one thing, and of little consequence, to end this loop hike only a mile from Goldie with a river crossing. But to begin it? Well, that's asking for more blisters. I already have two of those on my right heel from an accident with Goldie's door, as wind drove it's sharp bottom corner into my achilles area as I exited wearing open-back sandals. 

Trails around here are plentiful and go every which way. Unfortunately, especially for the directionally challenged among us, they are largely unmarked. We know how easy it is to become confounded and lost even though we've boondocked around here multiple times over the years. 

We soon catch up with the Geezer threesome at one the many unmarked intersections. Even with a map they are off course, wandering in circles in search of "the way."  The "leader" asks for directions. He's hiked this area several times but is confused by the growing number of unmarked options. It was difficult to explain every turn, so they ended up trailing along behind us for the entire hike. I suggested that they can return the favor if we ever make it out east again (we won't). 

How many ways and times can I say this? It bears repeating: What a gorgeous, crisp day—enchanting light and shadow and Gargantuan granite boulders plopped about. Sentinel saguaros, swollen to bursting point, mucho gordo and so healthy looking, unlike last year. Ocotillos don't appear to be fairing as well... anorexic leafless sticks with unsuccessful wilted attempts at blossoms. Like me, they await warmer temps. The will catch fire soon.

My Bobbie App leads Lost Massachusetions out of the wilderness maze. 

Good thing we've got this loop down pat. Hans and Lisa are supposed to show up from snowy Prescott tomorrow and we'll be doing the same hike!

Stay Tuned for that.
Peace out,
Mark and Bobbie..."Romancing the Stones," Outside!


  1. What a nice relief finding your post this morning. We are hold up on our little two block long street as the Russian River has us all sealed off from the rest of the World, (that's not such a bad thing, wouldn't dare turn the TV on though). Glad to see you both have weathered old man Winters coloring up the desert with that beautiful snow, was kind of hoping maybe you would do another hike before it all melted. I wish this wasn't a reoccurring scenario here in Sonoma Co but when you live along a river you have to just plan for it. We had pictures from the girls over on 5th street and it looked just like Little Switzerland and they are loving it .
    Can't wait to see the pictures coming in of the Super Wildflower blooms in the desert areas so be sure to have an extra memory card when you head out in the coming days.
    Stay Safe

    1. The Russian River is gorgeous Doug! I was impressed by that river about 2 yrs ago on my roadtrip out west, and the Russian River stuck in my mind as one of many beautiful parts of California. And I read today that river is above flood levels, can imagine all the sealed-off places, lots of nice little cubby holes around that river. And Bobbie and Mark, another gorgeous outing you've shared with us all, love that one wavy cactus, and so many beautiful peaks and desert valleys, thanks for taking us along :)

    2. You guys are really getting hammered. Stay safe and keep an eye on those big pine trees. Don’t want a repeat of one falling on your house again. Stay safe Marc and Bobbie

    3. Terri...that wavy saguaro was so cool! Thanks for you comment commitment :)

  2. Wonderful boulders, and hefty bags!! too cool. Love the Bobbie App, cracks me up. We haven't camped in that area since 2014, but do plan to get back there, maybe even this year, who knows. I have no clue how we are going to get back across this country. Imagining a visit in late March to Colorado Springs and friends who have just settled there, but that might be a bit optimistic. In the mean time...Okefenokee will be a nice start to our eastward trek in a couple of weeks.

  3. westward, sue, westward! I told you I get all befuddled east of the Mississippi.

  4. And the bags are even scented!

    What MORE could u ASK?!! LOL!

    1. Yeah...like who needs deodorant and baths when you're carrying scented trash bags :)

  5. You could save a couple of hefty bags by giving Bobbie a piggy back ride thru the washes. Nice photo’s of the surrounding desert.
    I would get so lost on that hike without my garmin.

    1. We did see one guy in sneakers piggyback his sweetie across :). I need a Garmin!!!


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