Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Seasonal Exchange - Day 5 - Patagonia and Gardner Creek

Another fresh, bright, warm, sunny spring-like day! We thought we were leaving the foothills of the Santa Rita mountains, so we packed up and drove out, heading further south to the town of Patagonia. Quaint little town with artsy tendencies.

Our main purpose for the visit was the nearby Patagonia Creek Riparian Reserve, where we imagined a picnic lunch in the warm sunshine by a burbling brook while birds chirped in the spring-green trees and the dogs snuffled in the bushes.

It turned out to be a bit too Reserved for our taste. There was an entry fee for a chance to walk a near-paved trail with geriatric bird-nerds, no dogs allowed, no picnics allowed (!!!), and very little fun permitted. Plus, despite our chilly Colorado sense that it was Spring, the local vegetation, in accord with the local climate, had yet to push forth fresh leaves, and the Oasis in the Desert had not yet taken on the charm we assume it has in the heat of summer.
From AZ Travel

We piddled around the town enjoying, once again, the sense that civilization was rotting away. Peeling paint, melting adobe, collapsing roofs, rusting glory. Caused us to wonder if this decay was a widespread phenomenon of Southern Arizona, or if it was us. Were we somehow drawing our paths toward such sights? And if so, was it somehow symbolic or metaphorical? Perhaps to our desire that the most of the world could rot away and leave our little pack of people and dogs well enough alone, not charge us a fee, and not pave the trails through the wild world?

We dipped into civilization enough for a stop at a beautifully funky little organic store and then for lunch at a little outdoor taqueria where the maƱana attitude was in full swing. Which didn't bother us at all.

We'd planned on heading further north for the night, closer to our planned activities for the next day. Instead, we got some inside information and headed right back near where we'd been the previous two days. Instead of our former ridgeline camp, we found a spot next to one of the clear flowing creeks that we'd ridden past the day before.
From AZ Travel

Here, we sat and snacked and read in the warm sunshine by a burbling brook while birds chirped in the juniper trees and the dogs snuffled in the bushes. Then a stroll up and through the creek in our water sandals, the water chilly from snow melting off the mountains above. Then afternoon tea.
From AZ Travel

Then about when afternoon was slipping into evening, I took my bike and speedy little Sprocket on a quick loop up the dirt road and back on a zoomy flume section of singletrack. The loop only took me 15 minutes, so I took both Zeek and Sprocket with me on another lap.

Despite the cool evening coming on and the chilly water, I splashed myself clean in the creek. I mention this because there is something about the act of splashing clean in a creek that goes beyond just cleaning up. Cold, wet and fresh. My body warming despite the chill. Daylight fading from the sky. The open quiet slopes dotted with trees. The sense of remoteness... Something pleasant echoes inside me.

Whether the echo is from the dozens and dozens of times I've splashed off under similar circumstances over years of camping and touring remote places on my bicycle... Or whether the echo is from something deeper, more primitive, I do not know.
From AZ Travel

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