The goal was to experience fresh air and stunning scenery, get a little exercise, enjoy the snow, go somewhere new, and appreciate the beauty of southeastern Arizona. (I also wanted to play with my new camera and take some great pictures.)
Rural Arizona has a way of making you feel quiet, peaceful, and deeply grateful to the God that created its beauty.
Suddenly, you remember that humans are only one very small part of this planet. The realization is humbling, and awe-inspiring. The desire to honor our earth and natural environment is overwhelming and intense.
The majestic mountains jutted out of the flat desert plane as we curved closer to our destination. The dusting of pearly snow made them that much more beautiful.We felt the temperature drop from the low-60s down to the high-30s as we climbed in elevation. I had prepared myself with camera, water, hiking shoes, cash to enter the park, sunglasses…but forgot a hat or gloves. (This is something we rarely need here in Arizona.) Yes, it was COLD! But once we started ascending up the trail, we warmed up.
The agave, cacti, and jojoba all looked so lovely with bits of melting snow blanketing the plants. There is something very special about seeing hot weather plants and landscape covered in snow. It feels almost magical.
One of my friends put it well. She said, “What do Arizonans do when it snows? Take pictures like crazy!” Yes, we do! Snow is so rare and seems like such a contradiction to our 80 to 100+ degrees temperatures from April to October.
The short hike was enough to warm us up but the melting snow was causing mud on the trails so we didn’t stay too long. Plus, we were worried about little Akiko’s poor cold feet (she’s a delicate toy breed).
The map showed a dirt road that cut about 30 miles off the drive back. It ended up being the most primitive road I’ve ever experienced, and I’m not even sure if it qualified as a road! It took us about 2 hours to travel 8.5 miles, and there were times I wondered if we were following a wash or a dried-up stream bed instead of a road! It was quite an adventure. We had to stop 4 times to get out and open very rustic barbed wire “gates” to move forward, and twice I busted out in spontaneous audible prayers to God, asking him to get us home safely! We saw no other vehicles during this drive, and cacti and bushes were scraping against the sides of our vehicle. Some of the dips we took made me worried we were going to tip the vehicle over!
Thankfully and probably because of our Guardian Angels, we made it out alive. Of course, my husband stayed calm and did a great job driving. We really put our SUV’s 4×4 capabilities to the test, and used the 4×4 ‘high clearance’ drive for the first time.