On a Saturday hike, I don’t see the promised water, “all I see is damp sand,” I say to Meg. Meg claims “there was water here last month.” We’re hiking in a drainage off of Temporal Canyon just west of the Patagonia landfill, and east of the Mt. Wrightson Wilderness. As people who have lived in Arizona for quite a few years, you’d think we’d know that water wets some streams only briefly.
The amateur botanists among us discuss flower phyla attempting to identify unknowns.
“Hey, a poppy,” I remark.
I'm happy to be among desert wildflowers and walking with friends in a new place. We pass beneath ash trees and Mexican oaks, and a gray hawk rides the sky above. We find Meg’s promised water, and follow the wash upstream. A certain NOLS graduate among us briefly expresses concern that we are not on a jeep road or a trail, that we need to be careful and not get lost, and we remind her that we can follow the stream back.
I’m a little ahead of the group and I see something unexpected in the stream.
Andy removes it for further examination.
Andy returns the crawdad to its home, a home that could dry up any week now.
In another stream, we check out a swimming lizard (alas, no lizard photo, but it was there, I swear!).
We are back on an old jeep road and follow it to the ridge top and a mine shaft. “What was mined here?” I ask a local. “All kinds of things,” she responds. A little copper, a little silver, everything is mixed together in these rocky hills.
We gaze across the valley to Red Mountain in the east and try to pick out buildings we know in Patagonia. We walk back through the cool of the canyon, enjoy chocolate among the penstemon, then trudge up the hill to the heat of Temporal Road and our cars.
We christen the walk: “Crawdad Canyon Hike.”