Checking in from Salome, AZ …
We didn’t realize as we planned this trip that we would arrive in the desert and mountain areas of the southwest during what the locals know as the monsoon season. I always thought that “monsoon” meant simply torrential rains. The true definition, however, is a seasonal change in wind direction that brings with it a change in precipitation. That is what happens at this time of year from west Texas through New Mexico, Arizona and the desert area of southern California. The wind shifts from a predominantly southwesterly direction and comes from the southeast bringing with it moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. The humidity in this normally arid part of the country rises, afternoon thundershowers become commonplace and there are occasional days of rain, sometimes heavy.
We’ve experienced some amazing afternoon thunderstorms while on this trip. Today, we had the first day in a long time when the rains continued from overnight. The rain was spotty, on and off, light to heavy, in the valley where I walked today. It must have been much heavier in the mountains that are visible through the low hanging clouds to our east. All the way back into Texas, we have seen dried up river and stream beds and washes. As the water moved west off the mountains this morning, we saw turbulent water rushing down through the washes. This was a light day according to the locals with the moving water staying within stream banks and basically flowing through the designated washes. It was easy to see, however, why this area is subject to flash floods. And frankly, it was a little scary. Wouldn’t want to be around when the torrents hit. We don’t quite understand why the sandy desert floor doesn’t soak up the rain before the big runoffs occur. Finding high ground is recommended, however, when rain is heavy. After the raging waters pass, the land dries quickly enough and the waterways return to their normally bone dry appearance.
I encountered a small rattlesnake on the shoulder of the road today. Since it didn’t move, I assumed it was dead. But just to be sure, I poked at it from a distance with my trusty trekking pole (normally used just to fend off aggressive dogs). Thankfully getting no response, I took out a small knife and cut off the rattles for my granddaughters to see after this trip. A good rattlesnake is a dead rattlesnake.
I mentioned in a prior blog that I had met a new friend, Myron Hartline, who walked a ways with me as I was leaving the Phoenix area. As Myron pointed out, it was actually last Thursday, not Friday as I reported (the days sometimes blend together out here). Well, Myron got inspired. He informed me today that he walked 1.3 miles on Friday, 1.8 on Saturday, took a rest day on Sunday, but both he and his wife were planning to walk on Monday. As Myron stated, he had to let his “body know that walking is a now a part of his new reality.” The mantra is 45-60 minutes of brisk exercise, 4-5 times a week to improve cardio health. Way to go Myron! Great start, now keep it up. Hope others get similarly inspired. You guys inspire me when you embrace heart health.
Over the next few days, our path heads northwest toward Parker, our last stop in beautiful Arizona. We hope to visit Lake Havasu and the London Bridge while up that way.