Serendipity ~ finding something good without looking for it
Last week while hiking in SARA Park, I chatted with a Minnesota snow bird about another trail in the area. Based on Minnesota Mans instructions, I set out Wednesday to hike and explore the 7-mile round trip to Pilot Rock.
The sun rises late in Arizona, 7 a.m. actually, but the day is mine and as a slow-moving wanderer, I’ll need the hours to come full circle. With plenty of water, snacks, and sandwiches in my pack, I’m good to go.
Within SARA Park, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has numerous side trails, including paths for off-road bicyclists. I am so grateful for the trail markers pointing the way, because without written instructions, my memory rarely serves me well.
I happened to wander off path and discovered this circular pattern on the desert ground ~ in the middle of nowhere. I believe it’s water-created, but sometimes funny things just can’t be explained.
I’m hoping the sight of water means I’m getting closer! Pilot Rock was once used by steamboat pilots for navigation on the Colorado River. At the end of the trail, there’s a mini lighthouse and BLM site that serves modern-day boaters.
I took the signs word for it that there were water bottles below ground. With all the paths out here and the lack of signage, it is very easy to get misdirected. The good thing is most trails intersect; you just don’t want to run out of water with the extra walking.
Minnesota Man mentioned an abandoned mine; a good sign that I’m going the right way. The Arizona desert is full of old mines, and for safety’s sake, this one has been filled in.
Resting above the mine is an old metal chute, left behind by a previous prospector. I can’t imagine working in the middle of nowhere, exposed to extreme temperatures. It takes a certain type of person to be a prospector in the desert.
I’m finding all sorts of interesting things during today’s journey. As I went to take a step, the layout of the layers of sediment in this rock caught my attention. My niece saw a wolf in the pattern, and I see an alligator. I can only imagine the age of this rock.
Decisions, decisions ~ up and over a ridge or down the wash? I chose the easy wash walk and came upon what I think is an old oil can, bleached by the sun and tumbled by the dirt and stones. I’m sure stumbling across some interesting things today.
You’ve got to be tough to survive in the desert. I did not notice the spine-laden camouflage on this prickly bouquet until getting up close and personal. Can you see the “teeth” in the flowers opening? I can almost hear them jeering, “just try me.”
Are we there yet, are we there yet? I can see the river, just not a clear path to get there. In the desert, sometimes choosing the easy path ends up being the inaccessible (but interesting) path.
Although my attempt to find Pilot Rock was unsuccessful, in the end I was rewarded with a view of a hidden cove with rippling water and a graceful natural arch.
With dwindling water and tired feet, I decided to head back to the car and head home. I’m determined to return next week and find Pilot Rock, this time with written directions and a trail map.
Although I got off-track today, my detour yielded unexpected discoveries. After coming across some pretty cool stuff, I think that today, my best path was a wrong turn.