The beautiful old church in Ajo. Look at this and hear the coo of Mourning Doves
My Ajo Bird. He sang while I prepared to move on. I’ll have to learn which flavour of desert bird he is.
Downtown, old Ajo.
The centerpiece at the general store in Why, AZ. Rock music droned from speakers in the cab. I want one!
The store. What visitors can pass without stopping?
And why not indeed? This nest is in a cactus in front of the store.
I’ve seen plenty, but they’re always on the run…away. So are the wing-eared Desert Jack Rabbits who are almost as big as the coyotes.
Wild mustang stallion. I saw the herd crossing an arroyo so I raced ahead, slammed on the brakes and leapt out. This guy, was very patriarchal and stood guard till the rest of the herd ran ahead. Look at the scars on his chest! He’s a feisty old guy.
Run girls, run!
Once they were safely out of sight, Old Studly brought up the rear. What a thrill to see!
Can you smell the smoke? It’s mesquite. There is a campfire at my right elbow. A breeze blows the heat my way as well as a fine shower of ashes. Above me, through the still-bare limbs of a Mexican Blue Oak, the desert stars throb with a spectacular energy. Towering over me, a mile above, are the stark black cliffs and peaks of Baboquivari. Until a few minutes ago they still held an eerie glow from the distant sunset.
Arizona backroad to Fresnal Canyon and the foot of Baboquivari. It’s the high one in the distance.
A pilgrim arrived. Baboquivari is in the background. behind the tree.
Another offering to the creator. This place is the ultimate church. Folks come from all , mountainsover in answer to its call. Others come to climb the lofty vertical stack at the top of the mountain. I barely began that ascent!
The west-facing cliffs held the sunset even into darkness. In the morning I would climb to the base of the long shadow to the right of center. It looked easy!
Slowly, the light faded as if reluctant to let go of the mountains.
Last year’s birdnest and a promise of new leaves in the new year.
Have you ever felt excitement and peace all at once? I am here, finally, after dreaming of it for five years; and I’ll be back! This is a sacred place to the local Tohono O’odham indigenous people whose history here goes back at least 12,000 years. Other native nations in the American Southwest have successfully declared themselves sovereign states, complete with their own passports which you are required to have to enter their land.
Only the crackle of the rising flames and calls of night creatures punctuated a silence that you could feel. Wonderful!
Night desk. Where this blog was written. The desk lamp is a wonderful solar lamp/USB charger imported from Norway.
The Tohono embrace you as a visitor to their hallowed mountain. Shinto priests have come from Japan to meditate here. I understand that, I can feel why. The resident guide/caretaker, James, welcomed me and issued me with a free permit as well as telling me where to hike to find some secret places. I will rest here for a day or two. I would stay longer if there were good company to share this with. On my bucket list, coming here was very near the top. I have been summoned since I first saw this place five years ago from the lookout on Kitt Peak. It will take more than one blog to complete this essay.
James, my mountain mentor and guru. This man exudes an aura. The peace in his eyes and the lines on his face tell of his life’s time in a radius of this mountain and a deep spiritual attachment to his land. He is eager to share his knowledge if you are eager to hear him. We have promised to meet again….in the same place.
Trump this! A traditional and effective method of fence-building.
James told of meeting illegal immigrants who were “In rough shape” and doing what he could to help fellow humans in desperate need. While
I understand the reasons for going through the legal process of
immigration, I also ponder about people who walk all the way from the bottom of Central American to take the risks of illegal entry. Aren’t those the kind of folks you’d want in your country? The US Homeland Security Forces is a massive military force and seems, to my eyes, to be waging a huge battle largely with their own paranoia. But I can hold no opinions, either way based on what I’ve seen. I am an outsider, and also an alien intruder.
Devil’s claws decorate and protect Jame’s home at the base of the mountain.
First Light…and the climb begins.
I was watched.
…And watched. These feral, free range cattle roam everywhere. how they pass through the thick, tangled and massively-thorned brush is amazing. It is even more incredible that native cowboys are able to round them up and coral them.
Up through the shadows I climbed. The pathway is very rugged and not for the faint-hearted. Next blog will be images of the climb and descent.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” …Oliver Wendell Holmes