Running water

There is never going to come a day where you turn to whoever you live with and say “Today is a perfect day to have plumbing problems. No come to think of it, this whole week looks good to have some serious and expensive plumbing issues! Let’s start right away!”

Plumbing in the desert has got to rank up there with some of the toughest jobs that really don’t get paid what they deserve. They are our heroes. More than any sports team I have ever watched during a playoff did I cheer these men on this week to get our plumbing situation back up and running.

I watched as hard working honest men from different local plumbing companies came out to see if first, the warranty was going to handle any of this, second when it didn’t who could do the job, then when more problems arose was referred to another set of plumbers who had the equipment needed.

It has been quite the week.

We live in Gold Canyon in a little old wonderful house built up on a hill sometime back in the 1940’s. We are not connected to city water. We have a well. The well sits waaaaaaaaaaaaay back on the 2.5 acres and has no direct route to it but to go down a long driveway then down around… it’s just a lot of desert between the house and the water tank when it is 102 outside like it is.

This system is not that simple and has quirks for days. I believe at some point the previous home owner told my husband he had never called a plumber in 30 years.

We knew when we bought this place there was going to be random things to learn. Any old house has a personality. This house is awesome and wanted to just get back to playing music loud and enjoying the views. It wasn’t anymore thrilled then we were that the plumbing was having issues.

A series of things needed to happen this week to get everything back in working order. I will not bore you with details most of which I will not explain properly anyway and it’s just gross.

Basically some seal broke initially causing the pressure to drop making the pump work super hard to get water up to the house. When that happened the lack of water flowing through the pipes helped spotlight the fact that yeah maybe these pipes haven’t been cleared in years and years and now we have a stoppage so significant that long time plumbers turned to my husband and said “This is one of those jobs you remember!”

Nice. Of all the things I want to be remembered for.

Anyone who works outside in Arizona heat will tell you it is no joke. I also have been paid to work outside (four years PHX Zoo).  Let me tell you first hand when you feel the burning on your shins from the radiant heat coming off the concrete you know and understand how serious it is. I have great respect for all of the outdoor work that is done in our extreme weather. Thank you to whoever makes those wide brimmed hats!

I could sit here and complain about all the inconveniences a week of plumbing issues have caused. But really? All it did was highlight just how blessed of individuals we are. I had more than plenty of options and friendly offers on where I could use the bathroom, locate water, take a shower or even drink clean cold water.

Running water is a luxury I do not take for granted. I am well aware there are too many places in the world where none of what I enjoy daily they have access to and I live in the desert. Water to us is more valuable than gold. I have even wondered if the old tales of hidden treasures out here weren’t actually talking about tucked away springs of water and not mines of gold. I can’t drink gold. I won’t die without it.

Laughter is always what gets me through tough situations. In person my sense of humor is much more appropriate for my sweaty plumber guys. I fit in. I don’t offend easily. I tend to say things knowing it was at least a half a step towards wrong. That’s where funny lives. Your head will explode if you don’t laugh at some of it.

We have Saltillo tile so again huge blessing when you are talking water damage. This stuff will stand up to a nuclear blast. The house could crumble away but this orangey tile ain’t goin’ nowhere. Flooding it three times in a row isn’t going to hurt it. It’s 102 dry degrees outside. Trust me this will dry.

Later my plumber told me I was awesome and he loved how I had handled all of this so well.

To me that was a good compliment. I am sure plumbers don’t always get offered  all of the remaining cold water and ice in the house, a soda or some left over rice crispy treats. It’s possible they don’t encounter someone of my level of desert crazy very often who just simply grabs more towels, opens the back door and starts pushing the water out again while she giggles to herself about a new demented idea for a scary story.

I also found it funny that I was covered in toilet water but not in the good French kind of way! Stace le pew no? Oh come on, get over yourselves. Laugh at dumb once in a while. Turkey Vultures have circled me! This scent for sure is going to draw me some vulture attention!

*Ok, in all honesty the smell wasn’t awful until questions of the septic tanks level of fullness had to be answered.

Yikes I couldn’t be a plumber. When that smell hit I turned myself right back around and left that to the professionals. I would rather go swat the flys that have now entered my home through the constant open doors required to sweep out the flooding then smell that combined with the heat. Wow.

Aaaah yes… the open doors. I watched sadly as the expensive cool air left my house to be replaced by 102 degree blasts of heat. But again, this too only highlighting the fact that I am blessed to even have air conditioning. Air conditioning failures, power outages and the like are deadly in extreme heat like ours.

Years and years people have lived with no running water, no air. I am grateful for the advances technology has made. Running water and cooled or warmed air depending on your climate should be available to all. A basic right.

Thank you Tony, Tim and Anthony for working so hard and sweating so much to get us back up and running. Thank you for charging us fair amounts so this nightmare didn’t break us. Thank you for coming when you said you would. Thank you for being plumbers. We greatly appreciate it.

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A little dust

The monsoon season can be very unpredictable. Where the rain falls, the strong winds blowing down trees, major flooding and fire causing lightning strikes all are up for grabs when one of these storms blasts its way through the Valley of the Sun.IMG_2326

(6:17 pm )

We have gone about a week or so since our last round of monsoon storms. It has been hot and extremely dry. Nothing happening in the sky just big and blue and radiating heat.

Then yesterday the storms rolled back in! The sky started to change and roll and move. Out here in Gold Canyon the storm brought us very little if any rain but flooded areas only minutes away. These storms are dangerous so everyone out here in the desert watches the radar and news reports closely. Walls of dust come at us and can blind drivers.IMG_2379.JPG

(6:30 pm)

The randomness of these storms must throw the desert animals off their routines a little. I caught a quick set of coyote howls right at the start of the storm. Seriously I dismissed it as a dog until it got going but didn’t catch all of it. No others answered the call like they normally do at night. (6:22 pm)

Strong gust blasted areas. I caught a little on video for us but again this is a dust storm so being out in it hurts the eyes.  (6:39pm) We were spared over here from any major damage as the storm split and headed off to the north but as with every storm it’s disappointing to not get any rain.

The clouds made for some really fun imagery. Maybe I have written about ghost birds too much lately but I swear a few of those clouds were birds! It was like they flew in with the storm. Ok, maybe I need more sleep.IMG_2344IMG_2353

(6:20 pm )

We are expecting another round tonight. Fingers crossed for a nice amount of rain and some more fabulous images in the sky!

…at least they are going outside…

…at least they are going outside…

The news reported two men had fallen off a beach side cliff in CA. or is “walked off it”a more accurate term? I don’t know I wasn’t there. I am glad these guys are alive. The cause of this accident? The news reported it was in part because of a new game a lot of people are playing online on their phones. The game sends you off looking for some kind of cartoon character or off a cliff. That is about as much as I understood when it was being explained to me.

“Well… at least they are going outside.”

Yeah that about sums it up. The least. That is probably the LEAST productive thing I could come up with to tell someone to go do with their time while they are outside. (Something productive? How about pick up a piece of trash or two? Noooo can’t develop a game like that…there is an imaginary creature to be found!)IMG_0440 (1)

Yeah… go find an imaginary creature. Ok wait, I think my mom might have said that to me once when I was a kid after I had pestered her one too many times that I had nothing to do outside.”ugh… Just go find an imaginary creature!”

“…at least they are going outside…”

I have heard that phrase numerous times in this past week since this newly declared “craze”.

“…at least they are going outside…”

Remember, I was sent outside daily into the desert as a child with NOTHING much to play with and more often than not NO ONE to play with so no, I don’t really get having my phone tell me to go find imaginary things while wandering around lost. My brain did that on it’s own. The planet I grew up on didn’t have phones for me to carry around.

If you look there is amazing beauty outside. Everywhere. Every state. Every country. Every corner of this planet has oceans and mountains and rivers and lakes and fields…and on and on and on. So much amazing “outside” that you cannot possibly see every bit of it in a life time. Buildings and architecture. Historical sites. Wildlife.IMG_0482

My bucket list has Alaska all over it. Bald Eagles? Bears? Wild salmon? Crab? Yes! But being a desert kid I believe I am part lizard so I better plan my Alaskan trip carefully! Timing will be everything. Cold and snow don’t mix well with us lizards. I don’t even own a decent jacket.

My trip to Niagara Falls still brings a smile to my face when I think of myself in a plastic yellow rain coat being just beaten by the falls standing on a wooden deck that shook violently along with the raging water. Rainbows everywhere.

The fresh air, the breeze…

Ok sure, you can smell and feel these things outside while still focusing on a game. Agreed. Yes, you can also walk and chew gum at the same time.  But how sad and scary if you only focused on the gum. What if that gum was purposely designed to keep you so focused you were led off a cliff at a beautiful beach where huge populations of the world will NEVER get to visit because you thought the gum you were chewing was more interesting than the waves?

Again, the news said the guys this happened to are going to be ok. One fell like 50 feet! I don’t see this as funny.

I fear for our Grand Canyon here in AZ, a place that already sees more deaths and falls than necessary. I am afraid we will have even more visitors who are now more focused on a small screen than on one of the most spectacular views on earth! You can walk up to the edge and look down for miles! Unless your game tells you otherwise…

I have no idea what your game tells you…your game just might tell you to take two more steps forward. I don’t know this game or it’s real intentions. “…now slowly take two steps… closer…closer…”

Please look up people! Look around!

The Grand Canyon is not fenced. They have barriers here and there but we are talking the Grand Canyon. I write about safety. You know this. I am sincerely concerned. AZ see’s enough death on our trails. Too many of whom normally hike but were still taken over by the deserts naturally intense draining abilities. We really do not need any unsuspecting fun seeking gamers sent unknowingly into desert areas that could potentially kill them.

I don’t have to understand this new game. I don’t have to play it. That has nothing to do with caring whether or not my friends, their kids and my family are being encouraged to do it safely.

Whoever or whatever “programs” this game or it’s destinations, I beg you, do NOT send anyone out into this desert seeking your imaginary toy! If you do intend to send them out here, you better make sure the first thing they must acquire are REAL gallons of water before they are allowed to get the ball or whatever it is they are seeking!IMG_2049 (1)

It is July with August approaching fast. It is hot. Yesterday’s LOW temperature was something awful like 91 degrees. It is unpredictable this time of year. We are in monsoon season. A major dust storm can swallow us up. Don’t send anyone out blindly into conditions like this!

Everyone who is playing and enjoying your game oh mighty and powerful game programmer deserves to play it safely! So give some responsible directions!

Why is your amazing technology, with the bazillions of dollars you have just made off of everyone producing this game, not capable of signaling a warning at a beaches dangerous and not newly created cliff ? My car can signal when I need to stop backing up! Beep beep beep!! If your programming can tell someone to go wander around to a precise pinpoint on a map then it needs to be capable of detecting possible dangerous terrain! I am nowhere near high tech but I can pull up a topographical map on Google and see a mountain or cliff.

Oh, and “programmer”, your technology better be able to send off a ping so loud and so strong that the entire Valley of the Sun can hear it when one of your gamers gets lost in the middle of this desert! You have children playing this game. If one of them gets lost out here because of you I want to hear your device, your technology, scream from the mountain top that lost child’s specific location! Then the state of Arizona is going to fine you severely for breaking our Stupid Game Programmer Law for leading any fun loving, unsuspecting, unprepared gamer out into areas they could get seriously hurt.

(Okay… currently in AZ we only have the Stupid Motorist Law but I can see this one coming on a ballot soon.)image

I am all for games. I am all for fun. You know I am all about going outside and engaging with nature. Road trip for sure! Go meet other people with similar interests while you are out there. Have fun! Smile!

But if this new game is taking you outside possibly for the first time in years let’s step back for just a half a second to see who is really leading the way and why. Did you plan any of this? Or are you randomly and possibly dangerously being led around for some corporation’s HUGE profit?

“…well at least they are going outside…”

I don’t feel good…

I don’t feel good. I woke up sweaty. When I checked the thermostat it was 78. For a desert dweller like me 78 is chilly and a setting that will get me a $300 power bill if I try to maintain that temperature inside for very long. I should not be sweaty. I step outside thinking this will feel better. It’s 2 in the morning and probably over 80 degrees. It feels much hotter than inside. This is not relief. It hasn’t really cooled down for about a week now. Today’s expected high is 110 again.

And I don’t feel very good.

I’m achy and sweaty and miserable. I flop onto the couch. It feels cooler but I just can’t get comfortable. Now I’m chilly. Where is the blanket? The blanket only works for roughly three minutes after I have twisted and rolled and adjusted myself to make sure all of my toes were covered only to kick the stupid thing off because now I’m hot again and annoyed.

Do people who live in cold climates struggle this hard when they don’t feel good?

I use the phrase “don’t feel good” because this is not something that requires medical attention or even medicine. I’m not dying though I might moan like someone who is. Considering all the things I have done to this body over the years I am lucky I move at all so I should just shut up…but I don’t feel good.

I don’t sleep well. If I am lucky I get five or six interrupted hours a night. Between my potty breaks (we drink lots of water out here) and the dogs need to pee I can be up as many as four times in those five or six hours. You might say “get them a doggie door” and I will say go read my “Intro to Wildlife Photography” or even listen to the coyote howl I recorded. We are not getting a doggie door anytime soon.

Also I have a 17 year old dog. As it is now I can slide the glass door open all the way and he still has trouble finding his way out. Giving him a flap the size of his body to come and go through at a senile and mostly blind 17 years of age is just cruel. I love him so I get up.

I don’t want to turn on the TV because I’m afraid it will wake me up even more. I grab my smallest dog Tucker and use him as a heating pad for my upset stomach. He’s some form of terrier with soft hair and built like a sausage. He’s the perfect size and weight for my cramping tummy. I’d put him on my lower back if I could figure out a way to keep him there and not squash him. But now he’s over me and has wandered off to find his preferred spot in bed next to my husbands feet. He gets kicked out of bed every night multiple times. No dogs allowed. But Tucker has terrier attitude and simply waits until we fall asleep again to climb right back up.

It’s possible I ate one too many Doritos yesterday. I don’t keep them in the house very often because of my lack of control once the bag has been opened. My thumb is still orange. Doritos don’t make you achy do they? Honestly it doesn’t even matter if they did, I’d still eat the nacho cheese ones.

I’ve wandered the house now for an hour in search of a place to rest that isn’t too hot or too cold. I am an achy-sweaty-miserable Goldilocks. The struggle is real. I don’t know where to put me so I’m back to the couch.

I lay there eyes wide and irritated. Oh never mind just get up and go make coffee.

I just don’t feel good.

 

 

 

Monsoon Season

Monsoon Season is here again. Out here in AZ we get some pretty spectacular storms this time of year. Now again people, I’m not claiming to be the “all things desert expert” so I’m not about to start explaining what exactly a monsoon is and why. Not my job. Go to Arizona Monsoon for much more accurate information if that’s what you were hoping for.image

5:18 am June 28 2016

89 degrees

No, my purpose is to give you my view of this desert. To bring you here as a friend. To show you how cool the desert is. To pry you away from the inside and take you outside for a while.image

6:18 pm June 28 2016

111 degrees

So, this time of year storms start to build up throughout the day. The clouds in the sky seem to change and grow with this amazing bright blue background.

Yesterday the storms didn’t really hit our area until much later in the evening. These storms bring some serious howling wind and dust that just pelts you. Really not fun if you wear contacts.image

6:18 pm June 28 2016

Last night, over here next to the mountain, we hardly felt any rain, light sprinkles with seriously strong winds so the rain dried out before it hit the ground. Over in Phoenix they saw real rain. You never know really where the rain is going to show up.image

7:30 pm June 28 2016

We also get these massive dust storms called Haboobs. giggle. Ok again I’m not Sam Champion and I am not going to explain the inner workings of a Haboob. giggle. Its super dry. The wind blows hard. Dust goes into the air. A LOT of it. You can’t see at all. It’s like a brown clouded nightmare coming at you. The “Desert Doppler” can tell you I guess. “Doppler”. giggle.Fabulous pictures of these massive walls of dust are online. I personally have none…yetimage

7:17 pm June 28 2016

image

The sky alone out here is worth the trip if you were not sure about coming to see Arizona.

7:21 pm June 28 2016image

Monday Morning

Today’s high is 108. Our low temperature was 88 degrees last night. I feel drained.  Monsoon season is just starting. We desperately need rain. We need a break.

I love the smell of the desert when it just starts to rain. The dry dirt, the cactus, the trees, the animals, everyone getting wet for what has been a long hot time. It’s a wet nature smell. The cool the rain brings, the soothing, I crave it. It’s a smell I encourage you to experience yourself because there is no way I can really explain it.

The weather forecast isn’t giving us great rain news. Maybe 20 percent chance? I wonder if they really even know. Storms can just pop up out here. Fingers crossed.image

The dogs and I get up early every day. They have their routine. They don’t care that we had company all weekend and I’m tired and want another hour of sleep. To them 5 am IS another hour of sleep so I get up unless I want another cold wet nose poke to the face.

I’m blindly making coffee and look up and watch as Jethro wobbly on his old morning legs slides off the front ledge of our yard down into cactus and what not! ( J-dog  turns 17 in July!)

I fly outside in t-shirt and underwear, no shoes and scramble down to where a very old and confused Shiba Inu  has landed. He’s fine. He’s so old and crazy at this point I’m not sure he even knew what just happened. The other two dogs are no help. Cotton and Tucker come running to investigate sending more rocks and dirt rolling down at me and Jethro who is now so confused I just pick him up so he doesn’t tumble down any further. He hates to be picked up at this point in his life. Barefoot I’m trying to hold a squirming 27lb old bag of bones and not tumble half naked down another thirty feet into cactus and rock.image

Its barely 5:30 am if that! I crawl me and Jethro back up to the top with the other two silly dogs hopping around us, both of whom can easily run up and down this hill sideways.

I stand up, brush off the dirt and turn to see this sky.image

imageimageIf you like the pictures thank Jethro.image

He took a nap. That was a lot of excitement for an old dog.

Saguaro

Saguaro.  Pronounce it Suh war oh.

Saguaro are beautiful, strong, and unique. No two look alike yet when they are drawn or painted they get the generic treatment, cartoon round top and two arms. Like most “desert” souvenir the imagery is cliché and dated. A mighty Saguaro becoming just a cactus on a mug or a key chain…its wrongimage

As a society we have taken plants like roses and mass produced and modified them to the point that the ones at the grocery stores don’t even smell. What is the point of a rose if it doesn’t smell?

Yet this same society kicks and fights and screams about seeing one another as individuals, unique, not lumped into a category. Praised for being special. I guess the saying “You do you” doesn’t apply if you are a plant.image

Quite a few Saguaro live on the property we just bought. Some are definitely over a hundred years old with the others not that far behind. How do I know how old they are? Saguaro get their branches or arms anywhere from 50 to 70 years old. They get flowers on the top around 35 years.image

We are talking about a plant, a cactus, that typically lives 150 to 170 years!

Not sheltered in a green house. Not lightly misted by an ocean breeze. No this plant has seen year upon year of scorching heat in a desert that kills. It has lived without water for periods so long that the ground dried and cracked. Yet time and again men drop dead after only a few hours in the same harsh desert. Season upon season of monsoon winds sand blasting and drying, sun baking and burning. The Saguaro still stands.image

It has had its skin picked and torn to create shelter for the desert birds. Hawks use them as a perch to launch an attack.image

Saguaro live only in the Sonoran Desert and not even all of it because Saguaros don’t grow above 4000 feet typically and they don’t like freezing.

Oh and we grow slow. An inch to an inch and a half in the first EIGHT years. Inch to an inch and a half! This from a plant who will eventually tower over the landscape growing up to 50 feet!image

The fruit that grows on the top each contain about 2000 tiny black seeds. IMG_1416Now fun fact! If a coyote or a cactus wren eat the fruit is gets dispersed throughout the desert when they poop but if a quail or dove eats it then it just gets digested. I’m sure the birds still poop but it doesn’t help grow more Saguaros.image

Saguaro are not endangered but they are protected. I cannot just go out into my yard and dig one up. It’s called the Native Plant Protection Act.

Quite possibly one of the coolest thing I have ever seen is a Crested Saguaro. Go to http://www.nps.gov/sagu/learn/nature/why_crested.htm. I am on a mission to get my own photo of one.

Protect enough space where special things can continue to grow naturally. Truly start to value the real unmodified beauty that’s all around us. Don’t be willing to live in a world that would dismiss such a cool plant by turning them all into two armed cartoons.image

GOLF?

Our heat here in AZ has been so extreme this weekend we continue to set records, yet I can look outside my window to the tee box on the 9th hole of the Dinosaur and see 4 men happily waiting their turnimage

Just like the Superstition Mountain we live next to, the game of golf seems to have this pull, this energy, this drive that makes a grown man go outside in 110 degree weather to “play”.

I can hear all of you golfers now “Just get an early tee time.” It was 95 degrees at 5:30 this morning with an expected high of 117! No joke. (6/20/16)

The way our little house sits on the hill we have spectacular views all around. The mighty Superstition dominates the North and East views. But if you look out to the South you see golf, the tee box for the 9th hole. If you look out to the West you see the 11th hole tucked into the mountain.

Living here I’m finding there are golfers for whom excessive heat is not going to stop a good round of golf. Blasts of hot wind, heat radiating in waves on the concrete, doesn’t matter. Its golf. And right now its CHEAP golf on some of the best courses in Arizona. When you normally can pay well over $150 a round during peak season, a $35 tee time can entice a serious golf lover to go withstand oven like heat to start a round at noon.image

$15  will get  you a tee time round 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Just go to http://www.GolfNow.com.

I love golf. It’s a great sport. I just have no idea why anyone would want to play in this heat! But I see them. They are out there.

Now I’m not a golfer. I don’t think what I do out there classifies as actual golfing. I’m told if I “practice” I will get better. If hitting one or two balls  10 times or more at a hole that I never get it into isn’t “practicing” then I don’t know what “practice” is. Just the word “practice” makes me giggle. Practice. I repeat the word “practice” about nine times like I’m Allen Iverson…not a game…we talking about practice. I belong in the cart.

Most courses are beautiful and quiet. Like being in a park. Usually lots of nature too. I have even seen alligators! ( No, not out here. In South Carolina, another home of some amazing golf courses.) An alligator laying by the greens is not enough to stop a golfer! Especially in the South where they are common.image

I guess it’s like us out here in the desert with lizards and snakes, it just comes with the territory.I have seen deer, quail, squirrels, roadrunners, lizards and more bunnies than necessary out on our “home course” Dinosaur. Like a ridiculous amount of wild bunnies. I’ve counted 9 and 10 just hanging out by a fairway. They just kill me. After years of golf course living they still have absolutely no idea how to navigate any oncoming cart traffic. Confusion every time.image

Javelinas usually don’t get to roam on the courses but it wouldn’t surprise me to hear someone tell they saw one or two.They wander through my yard. I’m sure they find their way onto the grass. My husband seems to see coyotes quite often. But coyotes and Javelina are not going to stop a good round of golf any more than an alligator is. Be serious.

Planes were diverted yesterday. Couldn’t land. It was too hot. I’m not making that up. It is illegal for planes to land or take off once the temperature hits 120. Something to do with the effect the heat has on the equipment.

4 hikers died this weekend on our trails due to the heat. The news reporter said one of them was a personal trainer. This heat is serious.

I can just hear the argument that its actually SAFER to be a golfer:“ Golf courses have carts. No hiking except to find your ball. Golfers aren’t walking the whole round. The carts have coolers with ice and beverages. The carts give shade.”

Its 110 degrees outside currently. Just saying.image

Sure, you could also argue that the colorful clothing golfers wear make it much easier to spot one in distress when he flops over on the green holding a flag! I see you guys from a good seven iron away. I see those neons. Golfers are much easier to rescue. Rarely is a helicopter required.

For some even the worst round of golf in this heat can produce an inner happiness that a walk through an air-conditioned mall just can’t provide.image

Don’t believe me? Ask a golfer.

 

Excessive Heat Warning

As I encourage the masses to come and see the beauty that is the desert there is a small voice inside telling me you better make sure to prepare them properly. So I’m going to tell you like a friend, like someone who actually cares about you getting to enjoy the desert safely.

This weekend we had record breaking heat. This is not new for us desert folk. The news reporters seem to take quite a bit of joy announcing repeatedly the triple digit numbers expected. But a fact I am reminded of as I listen to the news is again we lost a hiker due to dehydration. Rescue teams went in search putting even more lives at risk.

Ok so let’s be reasonable, if I plopped you in the middle of the arctic without a jacket you would freeze right? If I plop you in the middle of the desert without water you will die. It’s not a maybe.

No water = death.

Be prepared for where you are going and KNOW your body and your limits.

I wrote earlier about the fact I am born and raised desert and I don’t go hiking in the summer after about 5am. Yesterday it was 100 degrees at 10 am!!!! It only got hotter. (June 6th 2016) Out here high heat doesn’t hit until later in the afternoon.

And I’m going to be honest the desert isn’t even that pretty in the middle of a hot afternoon. The sky is pale blue and everything is radiating heat. Its nap time. Its shut the curtains and block out the sun time.

The mountain range we live next to is magnetic and draws people to it. The energy is strong and almost overwhelming to those who are sensitive to it. With the added attraction of the possibility of finding gold we have people coming from everywhere to hike. But unfortunately not everyone makes it back home.

I found this crazy interesting book called “Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon” by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers that I have been reading. Arizona has some spectacular natural beauty that draws millions of visitors every year especially to the Canyon but too many seem to come incredibly unprepared and surprised by the weather. I definitely recommend it especially if you want to hike the Grand Canyon or even visit it.

There’s really nothing “soft” out there hiking a desert trail. No couch for you to stop at. If parking and then walking for another 20 minutes before you really get started sounds like too much for you already then guess what? IT IS! Know why? Because your brain didn’t even factor in the 100 degrees part!image

Bring WATER. Not soda. WATER. As much as you can carry.

Don’t expect rescue teams to come for you either…at least not right away. They aren’t sitting out there in the desert in towers like life guards with binoculars watching to see you flop over from heat exhaustion. If you get yourself in a bad spot you could be miles away from any real help. And honestly the hotter it is the less people out there so who are you going to yell “help!” to when your phone doesn’t get a signal? How are you going to describe where you are?..image

A hat and bright clothing are also good ideas along with sunscreen.  If you ever need to be found, wearing brown, gray or camo is not going to help. Think outfit seen from space.

You might also rethink trying to get a tan while hiking. You are better off doing that by a pool… and air conditioning and a drink with ice cubes. Then at least when your body gets hot you can jump in the water. Also some of the lotions for tanning can attract bees. We did recently lose a hiker due to over 1000 bee stings. I don’t think lotion played a part but you don’t want to do anything to attract them.

Having less clothing on is not going to help in regulating your body temperature either and probably just speed up the process of getting you fried to a crisp.

And for goodness sakes wear real shoes! Not flip flops of any brand. Have I not shown you enough pictures of cacti already? Wobble an ankle wearing flip flops and that’s not a fun hike back.image

We have in AZ what’s called the stupid motorist law. If you drive around a barrier into a flooded road and have to be rescued guess what? You are in trouble. I don’t think there is a law for dumb hiking but maybe we should look into it? Bad shoes, no water, too late in the day, tried to find gold digging with a spoon? Dumb hiker law

 

IT’S HOT IN THE DESERT!

 

Not sure what I mean still? Ever open your oven when it’s been cooking for a while and you get that blast of heat at your face and eyes and you wonder for a second if you still have eyelashes? I have stepped outside before and felt that here.

The desert is an extreme climate. Please do your homework before attempting any of the larger hiking trails. If you are planning a trip to see the fabulous Saguaros then start walking or hiking where you live now and build up your stamina. None of the trails I have ever been on are perfectly flat or paved so don’t say you practiced walking at the mall.

Check weather reports before making plans. Always let others know where you are going hiking and for about how long you think you will be. That way when you don’t come back after too many hours we know we might have to go search. I say don’t go alone.image

The Superstition Mountain Range along with Arizona’s other amazing natural attractions have seen enough tragic loss of life. Come visit the desert safely.

Check out HikeArizona.com for great info regarding the trails.