Most of you may realize that about two years ago, I moved back into Tucson proper from my desert home in the Tortolita Mountains. Today, DF and I went back for a visit and to hike into the mountains. We’re hoping that it will feel fresh for us.
It is mid- February, so the desert is just coming out of winter. However, thanks to climate change, today the higher 70F’s have hit with an absolutely cloudless sky. It is a perfect day in Tortoltila.
Our positive revelry soon takes a concerning turn. Back twenty years ago, when a shady development business began to appropriate and cut the neighborhood off from its traditional rights to trails into the rest of the mountains, a forty thousand dollar check was produced for the county to be used to secure a trailhead and easement. I still have a picture of that check.
Today, as we head up the road toward where the trailhead is supposed to be, an electronic gate is blocking our way. We will have to go to my former next door neighbor’s house and walk an extra mile, with clothing on, to get to the trailhead.
A phone call to the dear friends informs that they are in Phoenix getting her brother back home from an operation. No problem though, we are told that we can park out front.
As I step out of the truck, I feel a sense of anger. There was more than memories of a peaceful sense of paradise left here. I look to the neighbor to the south and remember all of the rude actions and including the betrayal of trust concerning our right to our nudity and privacy. Up on a hill, another neighbor’s dishonesty about water rights had cost me tens of thousands. I thought these issues were dead in me, but they were apparently just out of mind. Brought face to face, so to speak, I feel a damper on the homecoming.
I slip on a kilt and DF her sundress. Our pack with water is loaded up and we take off marching.
DF is out for a more casual pace, until I explain my uncomfortable feelings and my hope to drop them off in the cleansing hills of the natural desert. Over the years, many times of difficulty have been dropped off in those mountains.
Already, I am catching the wonderful silence, as we walk off up the road. My new city home has all of the noises of modern man. A good brisk walk can also help work discomfort out of a system. I’ll have to come to better terms about those old issues.
On up the road, there is a more welcoming jaunt through a piece of desert, where obviously neighbors walk and ride horses into the hills behind the new gate. There is some justice in that and obviously the gate builders are not being complete jerks.
Further up the road, we make our way past the gate put up by the thieves of Saguaro Ranch Estates. This onstruction has now been there for years.