Post gold rush days, a wild-eyed movement that pointed easterners westward in search of riches, perhaps today's most precious vanishing commodity is cell-less solitude.
Even though we were far from "well," we thought we were on the mend enough to move south from McDowell Mountain Park. Barring car wrecks and traffic jams, we usually make the jaunt from McDowell to Oro Valley in just under three hours. It's a fairly uninspiring drive once you leave the Superstition Mountains. Florence, perhaps the bleakest town and unimaginable low point, with its razor-wired prison walls that raise goose bumps and sends chills down your neck, is the last place on earth I would want to live. Yet the rv parks are full...mostly the ATV crowd, it seems, as there are lots of dusty backroads to explore.
Who would imagine that just 70 miles south lies one of the most pristine deserts on earth, a lush, well-bouldered desert that teems with a variety of cacti the likes of saguaro, prickly pear, cholla, ocotillo, and barrel, just to mention a few. All this backdropped by the trail-laced Catalina Mountains. Memories of my Arizona Jesus saturated, "trailer trash" childhood come racing back...
After a few days, it's on to Arizona State Trust Land that surround Madera Canyon and the foothills of Mount Wrightson. We meet fellow hiking/biking buddy, Chris, there, and resume hiking and acquaintance.
Biking up Box Canyon's challenging grade, we discover that the old saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," is nothing but a bunch of horse shit. We couldn't make the top, and that night I relapsed into fits of coughing.
Still, it's such a beautiful ride that I don't regret it.
mark and bobbie