Pincushion Cacti, Lara Serbin, Iphone, Apple
It's getting cold in Estrella Mountain, Goodyear, Arizona. There are a couple of red berries left on the pincushion cacti and the native trees are dusty sage green among brownish black mountain. It is a good time to head for the hills. I was in my studio of creativity doing my thing when Hannah, Eva and Lily asked me to go on a hike with them. It was late afternoon and the shadows were extreme. They wanted to take me to their desert forts so we packed water bottles, laced up hiking boots and filled Ziplocs with tons of cheesy crackers.
Fort II, Lara Serbin, Iphone, Apple
There were three forts on the agenda. The first was close to home so it was a bit lame. The four of us were all touching shoulders standing on this gravel slippery slope under a a bramble of a Palo Verde and Eva pronounces, "This is the fort!" Out of my peripheral vision I saw a striped tail. Tiger and Penny the cats had followed us. Penny is easy to spot being solid jet black. Tiger on the other hand looks like a miniature mountain lion with eyeliner that is always perfect. Pretty much all Tiger does is sneak up on things. There was nowhere to sit so we moved on. I let them lead me.
The second fort was a switching station of one main artery wash and smaller ones bleeding off. There were different stages of Palo Verde hanging over us some dead and gray but mostly daiquiri green. It was a cool stone room with a web of green above. It was pretty genius but too close to the road. It had armored rock sides with an easy slope to lean back on. Just as I was getting comfortable, we were departing.
Decaying saguaro, Lara Serbin, Iphone, Apple
The third fort was over the ridge and had been abandoned for some time. There were artifacts at this one. A tiny plastic hand sanitizer bottle, a broken wooden foot stool with a heart cut out, and a wooden swing hanging from a tree. Penny found the Powder Room immediately. Tiger copied Penny. It was obvious where the play stove top was with a carefully placed row of crescent shaped rock pile. I hiked up further to see the sun glow off the ribs of a decaying saguaro.
We wanted one last adventure before the sun went down so we hiked to the summit above. Lily was lead as usual and proceeded to fly up the mountain.
On the shadow side of the Estrella Mountains, Lara Serbin, Iphone, Apple
At this point I made the mistake of looking down and the parent switch was flipped to ON. I rallied the troops and commanded them to take baby steps. Really, it was me who needed to chill. As we trekked down the boulders for safer ground, Lily proclaimed she had to GO. I said just go behind that big vertical boulder, "It is the perfect place!"
Lily hiked carefully over the rugged boulders commanding us to not watch, "Don't even look over here!" We were patiently waiting when Tiger stealthily hopped gracefully over the pathless slope to the high vertical perch that was shielding Lily completely from view. Tiger sat on the apex with her paws perfect and close together and her tail switching in curiosity. She lowered her owl like eyes at Lily doing her business and asked, "So, what are you doing?"
Lily popped up and wanted to be annoyed but couldn't pull it off. We all laughed on top of a monster pile of rock.