Time. Temperature. Trail. Painfully simple message. I figured if “Be Best” worked for the First Lady of the United States as her campaign slogan why couldn’t my nonprofit Desert Summer Safety slogan be equally simple ? The 3 Ts. Time. Temperature. Trail.
In an attempt to appeal to the masses I created a cartoon version of me to help get this message out. I have made several videos and yes, written blogs but what it takes to truly get a safety message out there that works I have no clue. After all these years and countless commercials Smokey still can’t stop forrest fires.
Every year we get visitors from all over the world coming out to the Superstition Mountains here in Arizona. Some are tempted by stories of lost or hidden gold, many set out on hikes deep into this unique and extreme wilderness. But for most of our tourists, simply seeing this impressive, dangerous area is enough. Take a few selfies, wander around near the parking lot m, go buy fudge at the Ghost Town and be done.
But nevertheless every year we get people who have either ignored the obvious warnings or were themselves oblivious and ended up needing to be rescued or carried away in a bag.
As someone who is born and raised in the desert and who now lives right around the Hieroglyphics Trail, I have seen too many helicopters, read too many news reports and watched in horror as another young life was tragically taken away by this very dangerous desert. I created my nonprofit as education about the wildlife but soon realized I had a bigger mission on my hands.
In August of 2019 , a group of 44 from Kansas came out to the Superstition with plans to hike up to Flat Iron. A simple Google search would tell you that Flat Iron is not for beginners. Roughly a 6 hour round trip up through Siphon Draw, no one should be attempting in 100+ temperatures. To be honest I have never gone all the way up. Siphon Draw stops me. Yes there are local hero’s like Flat Iron Jim who easily go up and down multiple times a week and he’s 92 years old!!!!! But he doesn’t do it in August.
The charter bus pulled into the state park and were met with rangers explaining they had come far too late in the afternoon (roughly 3 pm) and it was far too hot to go hiking. Ignoring this advice the bus drove ahead into the parking lot. Temperature was over 100 degrees with evenings only cooling down in the 90s. Hot.
By 4:30 help and aid was called for and needed. By 8 pm a full rescue was required to safely get this group, that was now scattered along the trail top to bottom in the dark, back down. Rattlesnakes and other dangerous nocturnal creatures call the Superstition home. In the dark, on a treacherous mountains trail is not where anyone wants to be. But our fantastic AZ rescue teams find themselves doing it far too often.
Locals do dumb stuff too like trail blazing, going off the marked path or heading out on the trails close to sunset then having to find their way back stumbling over rocks and praying to not fall into cholla! it’s easy to develop a sense of comfort anywhere you have been living a long time. You let your guard down.
Most people who live in Phoenix don’t encounter the same level of danger we do living so close to protected wilderness areas. With all of the construction and growth over the years, the Valley of the Sun is city living. Sure a random rattlesnake might show up on a porch but for the most part it’s been sterilized. It can be very easy to forget that a simple day hike could turn into a nightmare.
July 30 2021, 31 year old Angela Tremonte flew out from Boston to meet up with a Phoenix police officer she met online. They went to Camelback to hike. Not carrying enough water and one can only assume , being slightly overwhelmed by the flight, meeting a new interest, nerves and not being fully prepared, Angela had no idea what she was getting into. During the hike up she felt ill. The “officer” let her go back down alone and said he would meet up with her. She never made it back down and died from the heat. 1 pm in the afternoon.
That story still hurts to think about and made a lot of us angry.
Camelback isn’t an easy hike especially if you are new to desert heat. Taking someone there in high heat was irresponsible.
“Time” can mean it’s just not the right time to go. Lots of things can factor into how your body will respond. It was not the right time for Angela and there’s no getting that time back. Unfortunately she trusted someone she shouldn’t have. There are no lifeguard towers on our trails. No water fountains. In the summer the trails are empty for a reason.
Are YOU an invasive species? Have YOU moved far from YOUR basic area of origin only to forcibly try to recreate where YOU came from in an entirely different environment ?
Did you adapt to your new environment or did you move there and simply continue your habits and behaviors and even disrupt the ecosystem by building homes with concrete walls to stop that awful wildlife from entering??? Did you poison “weeds”?
Do you suggest to anyone who will listen that shooting a native animal to the area you plopped yourself in is the answer to all problems ???
DId you seek out your new community when you arrived ?
How is it any different when a human does this and causes harm to an area they are not remotely from by their attitudes and bad behavior but when an animal does it ….
Next Educational Video Coming SOON From The Desert Nature Alliance “Compare and Contrast: Coyote vs Your Spoiled Dog” In this video we will explore some obvious and not so obvious ways we treat these two canine relatives SO differently. Get ready. I’m not going into this one with soft gloves. If you haven’t already, head over to YouTube to our channel ( oh so Stace and the Desert Nature Alliance) and watch a few of my education conversations. All are designed to be used in conjunction with classroom learning,#stem and #steam education. the DNA has created lessons to help you follow along.
You can find lessons on our website http://www.desertnatureallianceaz.org Not designed for small children or sensitive viewers due to the graphic nature of some of the discussions and examples shown, yet entry level so all of us who are interested in science, nature, biology ect. can share ideas, learn and grow. Use our videos for your own lectures or classes ! Please contact us with ideas or topics we could cover. Videos from us directly to your classroom are available. Please support our mission by donating today 💚🌵☀️ #compareandcontrast #coyote #domestic #wild #canine #dog fund us now on tik tok, Instagram, FB, WordPress, Linkd, and our YouTube channel.
Last night out, by the dumpster, barely visible until it’s almost too late, too young and too small of nubs to really rattle and warn a predator away. Curled into the usual floppy disc position, a tiny baby rattlesnake.
A rattle snake is born with a tiny nub at the end of its tail. As it grows it sheds its skin. Every time it sheds, a new segment is formed on the rattle. The rattle doesn’t tell how old a snake is. That just shows how many times this snake has shed, plus the rattle can easily break off. Snakes vibrate their tails when nervous. Even my pet gopher snake will do it. But rattlesnakes do it to try to warn you to back away. They don’t chase you. They stay coiled and the rattling becomes serious until they feel threatened enough to rear up and strike a pose . At that point you are in a crap position and need to back away fast.
All rattlesnakes are deadly and need to be dealt with respect . Losing your fingers, hand or life ( let’s not even discuss how incredibly expensive anti venom from any hospital is!!!) is almost certain if you were to try to pick one up. It is a huge NO.
You can NOT let your guard down when you live in the desert and you know you live along with rattlesnakes. So small and at night I am assuming it is a Western Diamondback ( extremely common here) or a Mojave as was suggested to me online.
Temperature, weather , dictates the probability of seeing any snake. It was still in the 80s last night. October 14th. Our heat hasn’t trailed off enough for the snakes to brumate yet. They don’t hibernate like bears do. Look it up.
Be careful and use a flash light! But as you can see, this tiny danger noodle would be almost impossible to see in daylight due to the natural camouflage. #Rattlesnake #babyrattlesnake #desertlife #naturebased #stem #steameducation
As a newly developed nature based nonprofit who devotes itself to loving this desert here in Gold Canyon AZ and keeping us all safely enjoying it, I would like to invite you to follow me on this tour and experience what we have to offer. Being small and brand new, any support you can offer is greatly appreciated.
Open Thursdays and Fridays 12-8pm Saturdays and Sunday’s 9-6pm.
Sitting outside in front of my mini DNA museum/workshop, melting in the Arizona sun, I am doing the very unglamorous part of my field work, cleaning up recently found bird parts and bits (I have a special permit, don’t trip out, I’m legal) Using a bucket of rain water to clean my hands and what not, out of the corner of my eye I see something bizarre.
Iridescent green is catching the intense sun and beaming from the bucket next to me. The color is so glorious and shimmering I’m immediately mesmerized.
Born and raised desert , using all the animal knowledge I possess, I’m only vaguely familiar with what I am staring at. My limited background around insects tells me it’s a huge beetle. I can’t identify it further than that without Google. But honestly, look at it!! Such a fabulous looking beetle, covered head to toes with an insane level of iridescent green sparkle, this beetle must be part of the community.🌈 These shimmering creatures probably only vacation here in Gold Canyon. The monsoon rains must have ushered them in. Honestly I have no clue if this type of beetle is even dangerous or deadly. End of my TED Talk.
I scoop it out of the water and onto a stack of paper to dry. I’m covered in flies and sweat and filth and need to clean up and go shower before taking pictures of my new green friend and finding it a place in the collection.
The AZ sun is so intense it makes outdoor photography hard at certain times of the day. I wanted to make sure I could capture all the colors bouncing of this beetles entire body. Exhausted from working in the heat, I figured I would come up with a better lighting situation after a shower and a bong load.
Sitting at the table, talking to my husband about work, debating on whether I should eat or nap, Jay looks over at the beetle on my desk and says “ uh babe, it’s moving”
What? No…I took that crazy looking thing out of a bucket full of water almost 30 minutes ago! It’s alive?
Why yes, it was.
And still is! After I took enough photos and videos of this insane looking creature we moved it to under a flowering bush in the shade . Good luck you fabulous green flying machine 🌵💚👍
I would love it if you popped over to my YouTube channel Oh So Stace and the Desert Nature Alliance for this video and more. I started making videos to work on my public speaking at first but started to enjoy it more and more. The education I can share for free and in my own style with no editing feels liberating! My channel has over 400 videos now. Some are of me sharing my desert love and safety tips, but most are of the wildlife living here in Gold Canyon Arizona. https://youtu.be/ZWjbsEIARTs
Yesterday 11 members of a group known as “Bad Girls Gone God” needed to be rescued off of Camelback Mountain here in Phoenix Arizona. According to local news sources these women were not prepared for a hike this strenuous. They also claimed they had done no homework or research about Camelback. They were however, being filmed for a reality series.
Let that sink in. Helicopter, rescue crews, middle of the day intense triple digit heat heat, some of the best AZ men and women had to go rescue this group of god fearing (?) women or shall we call them as we see them? fame seeking women, off a mountain, being filmed for “entertainment”. This nonsense should not get air time and if it does, it’s proceeds and the actors salaries can pay Arizona for the helicopter rides, fire trucks, ambulance rides and give bonuses to all the rescue teams that went up to help you “Bad Girls” get down safely. 🌵💚👑 The lack of respect you showed is appalling. This is why I say YOU deserve to be charged with a newly created “AZ Stupid Hikers Law. “
Our high temperature yesterday in and around PhX was 110. You read that correctly, triple digit heat Arizona is known for, was right on schedule and being warned about daily by our local news and weather. Local Radio DJs on every station mention staying indoors, don’t hike, they talk about drinking tons of water and heat safety in general. It’s an everyday thing when you live in the desert.
Born and raised desert, I’ve dedicated my life and recently became a nonprofit , the Desert Nature Alliance, to help protect the desert and to speak out about safety in while you are in the desert especially on the trails. There is NO shortage of desert kids like me who make videos, write and constantly talk about staying safe on our 2 very deadly mountains, Camelback and The Superstition.
So, for you bad girls, camera crews trailing along, to come here as visitors and claim to have neglected to do any research or homework about where you are going is bullshit and I’m calling you out on it. Arizona being ridiculously hot in the summer is not some well kept secret . All it takes to realize it’s too hot in Arizona to hike is to step outside. No homework needed when you open your front door and your face feels like you are checking on a cake baking in the oven!
You girls are telling me you are on a reality show or at the very least, being videoed for one and not one of you used your phone to Google about where you were going? Again I call bullshit. If you are fame hungry enough to be on a reality show you are glued to your phone. More than one person in your group knew absolutely 100 percent where you were headed and the drama it could cause. Period.
I do believe you probably didn’t check the weather or watch any news or read any reports. Why should you? You ignored trail signs that say stay off the trails , you failed to bring any of the gear needed ( uh but somehow a crew was there to film you?) you had little to no water with you and cannot deny you are not in the physical shape required to hike that mountain or maybe you have NEVER hiked up a mountain style trail at all!? Have you spent time in the desert on the trails or was this your first time ? You headed up a trail in the hottest part of the day to all but collapse or worse , die from your ignorance and quest for fame, oh I mean “ to get closer to God”. I’m sorry You dragged God into this, I’m not going to.
But by all means please argue with me that no matter your size or weight or whatever you did or didn’t eat or drink that morning, or what you do or don’t normally do , but for some reason, miraculously you thought you were in the physical shape to hike up Camelback in extreme heat because maybe you prayed or you did some working out or went to the gym twice where you live. Go ahead I’ll wait. I’d love to hear your logic.
We as locals also have a responsibility to keep friends, guests and even strangers safe on our trails by being honest about the dangers and not putting them in harms way. A young woman died last year coming out to AZ from the East Coast to visit a man she met online. He took her up Camelback to supposedly take pictures. With no water. She started having trouble and turned to head back down , alone. She never made it. She died. Her story breaks our hearts. Again I made a video shouting to the world please be careful out here and we get it, trust is a hard thing when you first meet someone.
Now before you get mad at the word stupid, or that I’m saying we need “a Stupid Hikers Law, “ Arizona has a current law called “the Stupid Motorist” that states any motorists who intentionally go around barriers from flooded areas and get their cars stuck can be charged for the cost of their rescue. Way too many folks ignored the signs and found themselves stuck and needing serious rescue. When you go out of your way to do exactly what you’ve been explicitly told not to, well there’s a price. I’m suggesting that we do the same for our trails. The hikers who do the right things, wear gear, bring water etc yet have accidents on the trails deserve to have rescue crews available to them.
I live on a hill tucked right up into the Superstition Mtn where I can see Flat Iron out of our windows. The Mountain is famous for Weavers Needle and the story of the Lost Dutchman and Peraltas Gold. Apache claimed this Mountain Range for a time. The stories are legendary like the Massacre Trail and Peraltas men coming under attack. The Superstition holds a unique energy that draws adventure seekers and gold hunters to this day. But that energy is strong and dangerous just like the terrain.
The desert is known to zap all of your moisture leaving you delirious or it simply kills you. I made videos you can see on my YouTube channel where I take a normal piece of sliced white bread, soft, straight from the packaging, and set it outside in our heat. Within minutes that soft bread sounds like sandpaper. Given the full day you have toast or a crouton. Dried tf out.
The less respect you have for it the quicker it takes you out. The death toll on this mountain is unknown for certain. To this day hikers fall off Flat Iron losing their lives for a selfie and the chance for Instagram Fame.
Some people head out on a trail and are never found. Others barely make it back. Then you have those magical creatures like Flat Iron Jim who goes up and down it daily ( in the proper gear and weather of course!) Simply amazing that his body can do it. I have friends who have climbed up and over and all around. My husband has walked from our house, with a buddy, up the Hieroglyphs Trail to the actual top of the Superstition Mountain, a 9 hour hike. I would flop over and die if I tried that. They are both Marines and hike regularly. The heat and what it does to an individual is just that, it’s how YOU and your body responds. It doesn’t matter if someone else can hike it or climb it if you cannot with losing your life. Know and respect yourself enough to know when it’s time to call it and head to the pool.
In August 2019 , 44 Visitors from Kansas had to be rescued from Flat Iron. August. In Arizona. Could it be any hotter? Only in Death Valley or Hell. The amazing part was locally it barely made a blip on the news. Most folks, myself including didn’t hear about it until later. So absurd was this story I went over to the rangers station so I could ask them myself if this was true or blown up for a good story on the evening news.
The rangers were more than happy to tell me all about it as one of the women I spoke with was there that day and she herself had warned this group . The group had arrived much too late in the day to go all the way up the trail and was warned not to do so multiple times. Supposedly only the bus driver took this information and failed to fully relay it to the group. They proceeded anyways being under the impression that it was not that hard of a hike. Where they got that information from I have no idea. Being in front of that part of the Superstition in full August heat you took one look and said “yup easy”???? No one will tell you Siphon Draw or Flat Iron is easy or should be attempted in the heat. NO ONE.
I brought my video camera and a gallon of water plus a squirt bottle and hat and told the rangers I wanted to make a short video about the incident but definitely not go as far as even the Draw, they were fine with that, but I also was well aware they had zero plans of coming to check on me. It’s not how it works. This is a wilderness. The Superstition Wilderness. You go basically on your own in terms of there being no water fountains or lifeguard towers out on the trails. You’re walking into a Mountain Range. Good Luck👍
I head out there sweating like a beast and I hadn’t even made it to what I’d call the trail head! You can watch this video on my YouTube channel Oh So Stace and the Desert Nature Alliance. The heat was so intense and brutal I felt like my skin was melting! I’m born and raised desert . I made 2 videos while out there and you can see just how awful it is! I can’t fully remember details. I’m winded and I truly hadn’t walked even remotely close to Siphon Draw let alone Flat Iron. I felt every bit of the Sun kicking my ass for the shear stupidity of going out there in the middle of the day. The ground radiates heat at you burning your shins even through pants ! Summer in AZ is full blown rattlesnake season so in addition to the heat you have to be mindful of where you rest or set your bottle down. Jumping Cholla are randomly on the trails and getting one stuck in you will ruin your moment for sure.
I ask the group through my videos “Was there not at least one of you? You didn’t have a solid gay? No one who would say Aaaaahhh HELL NO gurl this is NOT happening today ?!?” You didn’t have one me who would have pitched a fit for trying to drag my ass up a mountain in triple digit heat instead of being by the pool?!? Wtf? That’s not a group you should ever travel with period.
Drones take some of the most incredible shots of this planet you will see. You are not going to take a selfie at this point in 2022 that is so amazing that you need to risk your life going up a desert trail like Flat Iron. At night it’s far too dangerous and a young man recently lost his life this way. Please spare your loved ones the pain. Stop with the selfies on a ledge .
A network will, however, happily send eager wanna be stars up any mountain then off a cliff if it makes them money. Bad Girls Gone God this time, another sub group next.
Ignore all the warning signs. Ignore the suggestions. Don’t read any signs. Go about your day oblivious to your surroundings only concerned with your own personal immediate happiness.
I’m starting to not care anymore. I’m starting to hope you suffer the consequences.
No, not a healthy mindset is it? But it’s true. For every eye roll I have received, for every “oh I know”, for every mock laugh I have heard when giving out honest words of encouragement and safety, I now hold a special place in my evil little heart.
I wear boots while working in a barn for a reason. We post signs about rattlesnakes for a reason. We suggest you stay on the trails for a reason. We tell you to drink water for a reason.
But you insist upon shuffling your way through the desert with tiny flip flops, open toed sandals, even high heels. You proudly tell me your plans to hike at one in the afternoon to a destination you haven’t even arrived at and it’s already 90 degrees. You carry a bottle of Diet Coke and tell me you know all about staying hydrated.
You have no idea there is not a gas station for miles if you continue on the road you are on or that reckless driving on that same road helped three cars go off the cliff last weekend. So yeah, go ahead and check Google maps on your phone.
Continue being dismissive to friendly locals who just might know a thing or two. The ones that suggested closer, shorter trails. Only partially listen to the those who have the desert ability to rescue you when you get lost.
Don’t take a second out of your oh so busy and important life to hear that if you take two more steps forward you will get impaled by the cactus you aren’t paying any attention to.
Don’t smile or be considerate as you travel. Don’t say thank you or please. Openly make fun of the things and people around you. Oh, and be sure to throw your plastic tooth pick right on the ground. No need to locate a trash can…
I love the desert I live in.
I will continue to protect it and offer words of wisdom from an honest and pure heart only looking to keep you safe.
If this were an actual class and the teacher asked me what have I learned so far I would have to say ” Oh honey grab you a drink and sit down…this is going to take a while…”
I live in Gold Canyon Arizona. It is at the base of the Superstition Mountain. Though there are golf courses and mansions all around there is still plenty of natural desert for all the native critters to roam. Our house sits on top and over looks 2.5 acres of desert. Home to coyote, javelina, jackrabbits the size of a dog, snakes, birds, and the list goes on and on.
The amount of nature plus stunning beauty out here is almost overwhelming to me. I want to photograph everything I see but it is not that easy when you are talking about wild animals and I work with an iPad. Instead of making the excuse of needing high-powered equipment, I push to see what I can do with what I have. ( read Intro to Wildlife Photography if you are confused)
The local coyotes I have recorded and posted numerous times. I wish someone would pay me to study them and the howls they make. They are beyond ridiculous. They yip and howl and party all night. Then, they do that gangsta style trot on the way home in the morning. I love them. But me taking a good picture of one is not going to happen unless it’s blind luck. Oh I see them in the day time quite often but has never been close enough or me quick enough. Honestly sometimes I’m still just in awe watching them roam that I don’t want to miss the random glimpse to run off and grab a camera. The most coyote I have seen in our back acreage at a time was six making their way over to a seventh that had been howling earlier. This was in the mid-morning and sunny out.Construction is happening over on the golf course and I think the coyotes were having a meeting about it.
The Javelinas deserved and got their own article posted “…wasting the day away in Javelinaville” They are a handful and I have no plans on getting closer for your entertainment.
Which leads me to having a huge tarantula on the front door. Another experience that prompted a full post ” Shut the Front Door!”
I no longer hope to take a simple good picture. Oh no! Nature out here says ” You wanna come play? Let’s do this.”
The awareness of what is actually living in some of these holes has changed my flopping onto the ground with abandon.
I have been circled by a bird large enough to do me some damage. Seven vultures one day made me question my dog Tucker’s safety. Again another post.
Zooming in requires me to now forget my surroundings. Ask the bunnies or the quail, pay attention to your surroundings.
I have learned about old wives tales and birds in your house. One in the house is supposed to fore shadow death!
Not too sure what it means if it happens regularly except close the doors. Of course I wrote about that ” An Old Wives Tale”I have learned patience.
Wild animals have their own rhythm. They do what they do.
Apparently, it’s possible to piss off a hummingbird. I’m guessing little bird complex.
There are two hummingbirds I see regularly. One has red on its chest or throat. The other is more of a green. Their feathers are iridescent. Really, they are pretty birds, but as you all know I use an iPad mini so I have no shot at getting a good close up. I don’t even try.
I have been waiting for our bird of paradise bush to bloom in hopes of a good picture. It’s right by the living room window so I keep a pretty close eye on it. This time of year here in the desert random plants are blooming because the weather change has been so drastic.
Yesterday morning the bush seemed to be covered in new orange blooms. The little tube like flowers wilt easily and have a very short shelf life. Something hummingbirds are aware of also. As with everything in life, it’s all about timing. I needed to get out there quickly.
I’m frozen and wearing my oversized white fluffy robe so I need to change before I go out. With an expected high only in the 70’s, the morning was cold for a desert kid like me but I’m pretty sure I don’t need to hover over this poor plant looking like the abominal snow man so I go and change.
The red hummingbird has beaten me to the bush. I hear the hum as I step closer.
As expected, due to this weather snap, it’s slim pickin’s already for me to find blooms that haven’t started showing signs of stress. Red however is having absolutely no problem locating happy orange tubes to insert it’s face into.
Not that long ago after the last good rain, our purple flowers bloomed and were immediately covered in desperate bees stocking up. I was able to stick my arms into these bushes holding an iPad without one sting. It was busy and bustling but as long as everyone stayed out of each other’s way lots of work was getting done. I took some amazing pictures that day.
Apparently, hummingbirds aren’t as cooperative. I can guarantee you Reds not.
Not concerned in any way for my safety, I lean in to the orange bush to get a closer look only to have a hummingbird whiz past my head then fly up to the tree and land on a branch making noises I took as hummingbird cussing.
The bush is covered in flowers but, unlike working with the bees, me and Red CANNOT share and I’m being told about it.
My head is now the tower and Red is requesting a fly by. I feel the side of my head vibrate as this miniature jet fighter screams past. Faintly I hear “…gonna take you right in to the danger zone…”
This makes me laugh. I say out loud “you’re serious right now?” and throw up my hands as if I’m saying “bring it little bird.”
No big crazy humming bird fight happens next. Red didn’t tackle me and flop me around with his surprising hummingbird strength. No, just another talking to from the branch above.
But now I feel guilty. I’m in the way of food and trust me no one wants to be in my way when I’m “starving” so I get it.
For me, minutes of snapping unnecessary pictures is nothing. But to this hardworking, fast moving hummingbird I’m some huge, incredibly slow moving creature who isn’t even eating, just staring at the food, slowing down the buffet line while the food goes bad, until, infuriated, it screams “move bitch get out tha way!”
Just spent the last two days getting hammered by wind and rain. We had a very monsoon like storm hit us. I say “monsoon like” because it is November. Monsoon season supposedly ends in September.
Our heat had started to drop back down into the low 90’s and a few 80’s. So that would be one difference, monsoons are usually during our extreme heat. Storms seemingly pop up out of nowhere and beat the heck out of us from June through September when we reach record setting heat almost every year. Think 110 degrees for days and days. I believe it is one of the reasons people start going crazy out here. Too many days in an oven. We can discuss that another time.
Nov.3 2016 the valley also saw a haboob roll its way on in along with some serious rain. A haboob is a massive wall of dust blowing across the open and mostly flat desert. When a storm comes up from the south it pushes miles and miles of extremely dry sand into the air and blows on towards PHX until it swallows us up, surrounding us in brown. The valley saw it but we did not because we are kind of tucked into the hills and mountains.
The radar and most of the weather focus for our news is PHX and the millions who live in the cities surrounding it “The Valley of the Sun”. I would say Gold Canyon is on the far right of the screen where they show weather or traffic. They don’t seem to be as concerned with us and Apache Junction. We have flooded out here and in AJ before the news even mentions a “possible chance of showers”.
I send my videos in to the T.V station regularly with subjects like “It’s flooding in Gold Canyon!” I don’t expect them to use my videos. I am trying to let them know immediately that in the two minutes of rain they failed to warn us of, we now have dangerous flash flooding. PDR (positive desert reporting)
Flash flooding is just that. It happens in a flash. All that rain hitting concrete like baked earth rolls FAST into the washes and gulley’s. It’s not a day of rain, not even hours of it that causes devastation. It can be as little as a couple of minutes of heavy downpour that turn roads into dangerous rivers
If you are from a place that it rains a lot, this makes no sense to you. I get it. Go dump a bucket of water down your driveway. That’s what our ground does when it gets hit with a lot of water fast. It doesn’t absorb the water; it almost repels it. Still, all of that water needs to flow somewhere.
We see people all the time out here get stuck in their cars. AZ has a stupid motorist law that if you try to drive through one of these washes and need to be rescued you are in trouble…that is if they were able to save you.
We also had extreme wind gusts and thunder and lightning the past two days. Very Monsoon like. But again it is Novemeber and the experts will just say it was just a storm.Nov.4 2016
Today is Nov.7 2016. Most of the water has dried. We have a few spots of muddy and the driveway will need to be raked back into place.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you question advice you have given?
It’s been about two weeks now that my husband and I hiked the Peralta Trail so we could see Weaver’s Needle. A few months back I introduced some of you to the Peralta Trail and its history but needed to wait for the deserts high temps to break before I could go hiking and get pictures for you. The story is very cool. Go back and read it if you haven’t. I creatively titled it The Peralta Trail.
Anyways, the weather lately has been fabulous with highs somewhere in the low 90’s. For us desert folk, that Sunday morning felt “chilly” so we waited and left for our hike “late” at 8 am. Peralta is a good four-hour hike, grand total up and back, unless you are running and I’m not going to recommend that ever.
Peralta is a real hiking trail for sure. It’s far from flat. You are hiking up into the Superstition Mt. over big rocks and boulders to get the spectacular view of Weavers Needle. This spot has so many claims of gold, mystery and death surrounding it not to mention the Apache Indians, their belief this is the home of their Thunder God, and all 200 of Peralta’s men being massacred trying to leave this general area with gold, the Peralta Trail will forever draw visitors from around the world to come and see the view for themselves.
We call our seasonal visitors “Snow Birds”. They come from where ever it is cold and gloomy and enjoy the fabulous weather we have this time of year.
About twenty minutes into our hike back down from the top of the Mt. we could hear a group coming up. Men, women, probably a few teens too, not really sure, but a good sized group. I didn’t count. What we did over hear as we approached were disgruntled women who had been told this was an easy two-hour hike. Obviously whatever other plans they had for the day were now ruined thanks to whoever had sent them on this sightseeing excursion.
They all are basically lost at this patch of the trail until they see us and that solves their navigation issue. Excited men and a few frustrated women ask us how much further to the top. We answer honestly “about twenty minutes”. With this news most of the group seems ready to run the rest of the way to the top but a few are debating turning around.
(Now mind you at this point they have driven about 6 miles on a lovely bumpy dirt road to reach the start of this trail, hiked about 2 maybe 2 and a half HOURS up into a cactus covered Mt. to see a view, then will have to turn around and get back down for another 2 plus hours! What hateful friend or relative did this to them I don’t know)
Now this is the part of the story I have replayed over and over again in my mind. Should I have…?
I turn to the women and smile and say “You’ve made it this far…you don’t want to miss the view…”
and we hike past.
I guess the size of the group made me feel less concerned about safety or if they really could make it. No one appeared hurt in any way. Also, I figure if you can complain that loud about not wanting to do this anymore then you probably DO have the strength to hike another twenty minutes to the top.
But I should know better. Encouraging tired hikers can be a bad idea. A wonderfully “warm” day to a desert kid like me is not the same to a relative from the East Coast. Strong accents told us at least some of this group was not from around these parts. It is painfully dry in the desert and honestly very few transplants can come out here and hike for 4 hours without feeling seriously dehydrated.
And as I always say, there are no life guard towers out here! No one is going to come rescue you if you flop over. Know your limits.
The flip side, had I sounded worried or concerned about them making the last twenty minutes they would have assuredly turned around when really the only challenge they were facing was mental. Plus, that just makes for even worse complaining if you didn’t even reach your goal and turned around in defeat because wandering around the mall or watching T.V. seemed like a much better idea for the day. (Admit it ladies, that’s a guaranteed bitch and moan session ALL the way back down the Mt. and no one needs that. Besides, your butt will thank you for this hike later.)
We don’t hear them after a few more minutes and can see up the side of the Mt. they have decided to go the distance. I’m happy for them. I truly am. I almost feel proud. I knew they could do it. Going back down will feel much easier.
I’m reminded it’s that time of year again, our birds are back. We need to watch them. Keep them safe.
(I am also grateful to not know any of the complaining ladies personally so later when they are beyond sore I will have no part in the blame.)