We’re on the final countdown, with only a week(ish) left before J and I finally start our hike. To-date our training has consisted of ordering fries AND a shake when we go to In’N’Out, but since some training is better than none, we’ve started putting some miles on our trail runners this week.
Yesterday we did a quick morning trip up Finger Rock Canyon in the Catalinas. It’s an incredibly charismatic canyon, with walls of banded black and white gneiss and huge saguaro stands. It’s also really close to town, which means that it is a great place for sightings of bros working on their tans. We were lucky though, and saw a beauty of gila monster as well.
We saw it on the way up and the way back down. I had cruised right past it, but it hissed at J. Hissed isn’t really the right word – it was less sibilant snake, and more teeny angry velociraptor.
Today J and I figured that we should try to put in a few more miles, so we headed up to the Soldier trail on Mt. Lemmon. As soon as we got out of the car J said, “Hey,come look at this.”
“What is it?” I asked. I wasn’t wondering long because the rattler J had nearly stepped on instantly coiled and buzzed. A rattler makes eye contact with you and keeps it, it’s head floating menacingly over it’s coiled body, its venomous spring. No pictures of this guy – my phone doesn’t have a zoom lens.
Farther up the hike I was cruising through a section of tall grass when I saw the diamonds again. I rocketed back so fast I crashed into J, who had been 5 ft behind me. A second glance told me it was a big beautiful garter snake, but I was feeling a bit jumpy.
Spring is almost over in the Catalinas – the wildflowers were scarce this year, and are almost all gone already. But the cacti are just beginning to bloom. I don’t think there is any flower in the world as beautiful as a cactus bloom – the huge, lucious cups in impossible colors, sprouting out of the most inhospitable plants. Ihave whole file folders on my computer full of cactus blossom photos, but I keep photographing them; I can’t help myself.
We were also lucky enough for a datura bloom:
J was saying that he had read that in Haiti, daturas are known as zombie cucumbers. Apparently, after a zombie is taken out of their drug-induced coma, they’re fed datura flowers. Hallucinogenic plants can’t be good for your state of mind after all that – no wonder the people believe they are really zombies. The mind is vulnerable enough to the power of suggestion without that kind of help.
It got me started thinking about faith healings. The healer has such a convenient out – thy faith shall make thee whole – but perhaps it is not an easy out so much as a self-fulfilling prophesy. For those who truly believe, their brain will do the rest of the work. I wish I could believe like that, because I’m just four miles into a training hike and my left knee has worrying twinge. Hopefully it will just work itself out…
(Ok, this one’s not from the hike. But the lunar eclipse was pretty neat.)