Sunday, June 7, 2009

Alone In Tucson Again...

...but while Brendan was here we had a few good times together despite the fact that I was under the weather.

The high point of his trip may have been when he looked down while in Pima Canyon. He looked down, exclaimed something to the effect of "Oh golly shit", prodded around with the end of my walking stick in the then dry sand of the wash, and came up with a Cold Steel brand machete still in its case. Granted it was pretty rusted being that he found it in the middle of the wash in an area that had water in it (not water in that exact spot but water only feet away from it and upstream at that, so the sand there was probably damp a lot) on each of my previous visits, but it was a pretty neat find. Of course he could not take it home with him on the plane since he only had a carry-on bag but I figure I'll find someplace for it in my checked luggage when I return home. Once home I think we will have to see if we can restore it some by getting the rust off of it. Strange thing is that even though badly rusted, even pitted in some places, it still held a very sharp edge and my guess would be that it would still have been effective used for its intended purpose despite the time, the ling time, it probably spent in the wash.

Of course we also found some other things on the Pima Canyon Trail and those included a lot of lizards and some good views. In the lizard department we were hoping to get to see a Gila Monster repeating my luck of a previous hike there. While we did not duplicate that bit of good fortune we did see something that neither of us had seen in the area before and we saw it quite possibly because of good trail manners we had just exercised. You see, we were hiking back down out of the canyon. At the same time as us, there was a group of three other guys hiking down who were behind us a bit. They were walking at a pace just above ours and after a while of hearing them chatting behind us it was time for us to move to the side and let them pass and they politely thanked us. Well after a short while we decided to take a break to drink some water and to give me a rest. I was pooped, shame on me for hiking while having the flu, but it was Brendan's last full day here and I was going to make sure he did something fun. As it turned out, the three guys we had let pass us only minutes before were up ahead all bent over looking at something on the ground. Brendan asked if i wanted to stop where we stood, a place I had actually had in mind to stop at, but when I saw those three so intensely peering at something I said 'let's move on a bit'. The three guys soon straightened up and continued their hike and we soon got to the spot where they had been peering at something. I sat down, as did Brendan, and almost no sooner than we sat he blurted out something like 'check it out'. There was a Collared Lizard, a male in full breeding colors, that had just run up the trail directly at us. It stopped only a few feet away, watched us a moment or two as I took some pics of it over Brendan's shoulder (all blurry at that), ran off the trail a few feet, stopped at a rock with an obvious hollow under it, peered into the hole and then disappeared into it. We decided to try to catch it. Brendan lifted the rock and before I could even think about making a grab the little guy ran back onto the trail. The thing is another collared lizard, apparently a female, also took off from under the same rock.
These lizards are normally very wary of their surroundings and any potential threats like hawks, roadrunners, coyotes and herpers (they would have been us). This guy was very bold indeed staying pretty close, and the reason he was staying close was obvious - he was horny! Typical guy I suppose, a pretty female nearby makes us all brazen. Brendan got a shot or two of the female (the one on the rocks at left), and he and I both got some shots of the male (the one in the pic above next to the backpack). While she ran under some bushes and was harder to photograph, he stayed out in the open for over 5 minutes, moving back and forth along the trail. He even posed next to my backpack. When you look at the pic of him, click on it to enlarge it then look at the yellow spots. While the pic may not do them justice you can get some sense of just how luminescent were those spots in the daylight (and it was light overcast). That was a great find made by my son's sharp eyes and in part at least based upon our good fortune due to us having had good trail manners earlier. If we hadn't had perfect timing we would never have seen it, and that perfect timing was due to our having moved aside on the trail. Coincidence? Maybe you think so but as for me I'll just take it as a rare instance of a good deed being rewarded for us instead of the typical "No good deed goes unpunished" sort of a thing.
It was a fine last day for his trip to Tucson, better than most that preceded it if not the best of all. As for me, I am here till the end of June, maybe even until the end of July since they asked me to extend. Sometimes it seems as if I just cannot get enough of this place.
All the best,
Glenn B