Yesterday it finally happened. The first of July ushered in the “monsoon rains” that I’ve heard so much about here in Arizona. Monsoon might be a misnomer, because the word brings to mind images of unending Asiatic rain lasting for hours or days on end. However, “torrential 30 minute downpour” would be more appropriate. The rains came fast and furious and made many obvious changes.
I heard all this commotion outside my condo after the storm. I looked out the window and heard some women talking about a “big hole.” Nothing was apparent to me, so I went on about my business. This morning when I left to go hiking, I noticed what had happened. The storm uprooted a 30-foot tall mesquite tree which is now lying on my building. Apparently it had shallow roots and the strong winds and rain knocked it right out of the ground, leaving a very substantial hole in the ground. Thank God for the maintenance crew!
When I left at 7 AM for my hike up Sabino Mountain it was only 78 degrees. Last nights rains brought about a welcome change in temperature but also brought humidity, something that is rare in this arid climate. Walking up the mountain the changes in climate were obvious. There was a strong musty stench in the air and all of the dust had finally settled. Last week everything was dry, yellow and parched, longing for water but today the plant life was a vibrant, lush, happy shade of green. About a mile up the road I could also hear the difference. Seven days ago the desert was silent except for the call of the wild, today those dry desert washes had become babbling creeks, humming with the flow of much needed water. Mud across the road told me that some flash flooding took place last night. Ground here is so hard and dry that it can’t contain all the water. The desert was alive today like I’ve never seen before.
When I turned around at the two-mile marker, there came a refreshing cool breeze. The temperature was increasing but the humidity was evaporating. Coming back down is naturally always easier than the climb…but then there is “Torture Hill.” Just when you hit that last mile and you think you’re home free, that’s when you encounter that last cruel uphill climb that just saps all your strength. Fortunately today I had enough resolve and reserve that I was able to kick it into high gear and take Torture Hill gracefully. Coming to the crest of the hill, the end was in sight. I put it in cruise control, drank my last bit of water and made my way back to the point of origin, exhausted but refreshed.