Sunday, February 20, 2011

A solitary hiker

The forecast for the weekend was rain. I got home from work at a reasonable time on Thursday and decided I had better take advantage of the sunshine. As usual, I left the house not knowing where I would end up. The weekend before I had found that 10 through Bulldog Canyon OHV area had been bulldozed and was *much* smoother than it used to be. Paloverdes had even been trimmed so they wouldn't give your vehicle that "Arizona pin-striping". I still wasn't able to drive the length of it in my truck. I got to a steep, uphill corner and just couldn't climb it; it's hard to get around curves with the axle locked. So I decided to check it out from the other direction, starting at the Wolverine Pass entrance.

I didn't go very far from that direction, though. I got to a rough downhill section covered with the marks of burning tires and with rocks piled to smooth out the rough spots and figured I would never climb it, so I had better not descend. I parked near there and headed for a small hill to check out the view.

I'll climb up there.

As I walked along the road towards the hill, I found where the bulldozer had stopped. It was less that 0.1 mile from the rough spot that stopped me. Darn it.

Where the bulldozer stopped.

As I walked along the freshly bulldozed road, I saw a single set of footprints. You always hear that you shouldn't hike alone, but a lot of people do it. There shouldn't be a problem with that as long as you don't do anything stupid. I guess having somebody with you might keep you from doing something stupid. Some people would inspired to new heights of stupidity by an audience, though ("Hey, watch this!").

A view of the Supes from the side of the hill.

One of the main reasons I hike alone is because I usually don't know when or where I'm going until I'm on my way. I enjoy showing people the beauty of the Sonoran desert. When I take somebody out with me, though, I worry about their comfort and if they are having fun and whether I am talking too much or too little. I can't relax if I have somebody with me, but that's just me.

I didn't go to the top. It gets too steep up there.

Anyway, I was thinking about solitary hiking and the rules I try to follow to stay safe and wondering if other solitary hikers have similar rules for themselves and would solitary hikers be interested in sharing their experiences and maybe we could form a club and even go on hikes together and ... wait, that's not solitary hiking any more. One of the other reasons I hike alone is because I enjoy the solitude, and that's probably true for most solitary hikers. It isn't that we don't like to be around people (well, maybe some don't), but it's just nice to be alone with your thoughts now and then.

Another view of the Supes.

I stood at a level spot on the side of the hill, enjoying the view and taking pictures. I looked down at the road and there was a solitary hiker heading into the desert. I wondered if he noticed what was now two sets of footprints in the dust of the road. I wondered if he would leave the road and go explore a secluded canyon or a lonely hill. I felt a connection to him and thought about saying "Hello" and waving, but because of that connection I decided not to spoil his solitude, and slipped quietly down the far side of the hill and wandered slowly back to the truck.

A solitary hiker.

I don't think a club for solitary hikers would ever get off the ground. Click below to see all of the pictures.


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