Thursday, August 20

Under the Mesquite Tree

View of the North


Under the Mesquite Tree

"The Sedona Fire Dept. is urging people not to hike during monsoon storms. Not only did fire officials have to sleep last night in cold heavy rain, but so did the six stranded hikers, authorities said." - NBC News 12

It's hard for non-desert residents to realize that there is water in these dry hills and arroyos. Average rainfall in central Arizona is 18 inches a year and snowfall varies from over 100 inches in Flagstaff to 12 inches in Prescott to no snow in Phoenix.

Arizona is famous for its monsoon seasons beginning in sizzling July with windstorms that create fearsome "haboobs" or giant dust storms.  The heat and winds trigger the monsoon weather pattern causing cloud bursts and thunderstorms from July through September.   This year, the monsoons started a bit early creating a wetter summer and more vegetation and more food for rattlesnakes.  For the first time in the 20+ years I've been in Sedona, I saw two blacktail rattlesnakes, one coiled to strike, both right next door in our neighbors weed patch.  

Arizona is a surprising, harsh and beautiful land.  It's a place that requires one to become educated about its geology, weather, animals, reptiles, insects and people.  I've found "field guides" are useful.  Making friends with people who love this quirky place is an even better and more enjoyable way of getting to know this land.