Sunday, March 11, 2007

Santa Maria: Desert Waters

After reading yesterday's rant, a wise guy might ask why I don't chuck it all and move. Answer is that it would be pretty difficult to make a major break at this time in my life. Besides, I do like Prescott despite those ugly, ugly open sores on the hills to the east. Fortunately, I don't have to look at them very often. And, for that matter, I did get away today, if only for a few hours.

The daughter, SIL and granddaughter were here in the little green car, which was loaded up with picnic and water goodies.

SIL drove us out Iron Springs Road, down through Skull Valley, past the Kirkland tufas and the Thompson Valley flood basalts (the mesas, above.) Like the bear going over the mountain, I've always wanted to go to the top of one of those mesas. And I'd love to find the great crack in the earth that spewed so dang much lava. (On a tour of the Bagdad copper mine, the geologist said that no one had any idea where the lava came from...)

On to the curvaceous two-lane mountain highway that heads toward Bagdad.

Almost to our goal, the Santa Maria River. The white spot down the road is the bridge over my favorite, nearly unsullied desert river.

We -- with friends -- parked beneath a big cottonwood picnic tree downstream from the bridge. This tree is serving up its juices to more than its fair share of mistletoe (the dangling, olive green leaf clusters.)

A popular spot for Bagdad picnickers, by the way. Aside from the shade, the only amenity at the spot is this fire ring.

But this is the real goal -- playing in the river water. We've done this with the granddaughter at the end of winter for three years now. The cool thing about the Santa Maria is its elevation -- only about 1200 ft. above sea level, meaning warm desert temperatures. Not to mention the solitude.

Even I take a walk through the shallow waters... photograph the bridge...

...and the sand castle underway.

Just incidentally, this was a three-blogger picnic. In addition to me, there was the daughter (OmegaMom) and Singing Bird. This was such a neat day, I think I'll take you on another visit to look at the trees in a couple of days.


hermano said...

Looked like a good time had by all. Where did you get your Zoro sombrero?? It goes well with the the cam pants and sandals.


SBird said...

These are great pictures of the river experience...thanks for a fun time!

So, we've been told (by a thermogeologist) that the lava comes from Black Mountain--the mountain behind the ranch that has the multiple calderas (sp?)...???

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the post and the walk on the river. Thanks.

Granny J said...

Glad to have all of you with me for the watery picnic! Bro Bill -- actually, it's a straw boater specifically for ladies who garden, as for the camo -- I was trying to avoid a bad burn on my first day in the desert sun; the camo pants turn out to be the thinnest, coolest in my wardrobe. And those are genuine river sandals.
Ms. sbird: it was a delight to meet you and the DH; your home site is absolutely, totally enviable and your pasta salad delictable.
and, Mr. G., you would have enjoyed it even more had you come along in person. Next time you're in Arizona...

Granny J said...

Back to Ms. Sbird -- I didn't know that Black Mountain had more than one caldera. But then I'm not in shape to get around to the the back side. Is that part state land, ranch land or forest?

SBird said...

Black Mountain is state land--there are two, maybe three, calderas. We climbed it once--it's treacherous, filled with VERY sharp black volcanic rock/basalt. Our lower legs were bloodied by the time we got back down.

Granny J said...

That doesn't sound like the best of times. But then almost anything you do in Arizona bites back. Climb the granites among the chaparral & the plants bloody you. Dig in the ground for a garden & the rocks and pebbles all grow sharp edges. I never wore gardening gloves until we settled here.

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