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15 Mile rain (Arizona)
At noon I was sitting at the
trailhead of Reavis Ranch Trail. Before arriving, i had a big plan --
reach the actual "Reavis Ranch", about 7 miles along the trail.
But now I was sitting in my jeep, watching 3 guys load up 4 horses with
supplies and backpacks -- in the rain. It was raining. Cats and dogs.
Really raining. My jeep was shaking from the wind.
Once i was on the trail, the rain didn't
seem that bad. I had weak protection against real rain -- cotton pants and cotton
"fall weather" jacket, with a good $4 poncho. This would do for any
half hour walk in the rain, but not much more. In the first 3 minutes I thought
my pants were holding out pretty good. Then within seconds they were totally wet
and sticking to me. I was walking against the rain. I knew exactly what i should
be wearing -- $120 Mountain Hardwear EPIC pants, and $250 Mountain Hardwear Exposure
II jacket -- waterproof and breathable. Not water absorbent like a sponge. The
rain weakened, and i pulled out my camera.
I saw 3 cyclists on the trail behind
me. Sometimes cycling, sometimes pushing their bikes. They ceased the opportunity
for a group photo with their point-and-shoot camera. But no guarantees -- i am
not used to toys like that. I walked behind them, sometimes passing them, and
sometimes being passed. The last time i passed them was before BIG ROCK. I never
saw them after that.
Now the trail looked a lot less bicycle
friendly -- too rocky and muddy. Rivers were forming during the newly strengthening
rain. I was in new territory -- i had been on this trail at least 10 times, but
always my destination was BIG ROCK, 2 miles along the trail. Now the trail curved
along rolling hills, with a slight incline. About 2 miles later the scenery improved.
I passed an open fence and afterwards i was walking along the rim -- big walls
on the right, and increasingly higher dropoff to the left. I had to change my
pants (yes, for another technically-wrong pair of cotton pants). It's more fun
with the right toys, but sometimes you can improvise. And gaitors are a must in
I was really hoping to see the horses,
and the group of volunteers the food supplies were for. I guessed they'd be at
Reavis Ranch -- wherever that might be. 7.5miles on the trail and still just footprints
in the mud. They have gone through here. At my turn-back point, i had a view of
a valley below -- the trail ran through it. No sign of horses, no people either.
Since BIG ROCK i only met one of the horse-guides. The young fellow was returning
to civilization for the night. His 2 buddies and the 4 horses must have stayed
with the volunteers. I turned back at 5:30pm. The night will be coming soon --
Reavis Ranch will have to wait for another day. The biggest reason were my soaked
pants. The boots were soaked to the point that it didn't matter if i went through
the biggest mud and water -- they couldn't get any worse.
As the sun was approaching the horizon
behind the rim, I saw a few rays touch a distant mountain. It's a beautiful time
for pictures when the sun peaks through clouds after the rain. This was the perfect
place, but the sun came out too late in the day. I wish i could experience rain
in Superstitions again -- now I know just the place to go.