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Return of the Rain

Monday, July 20th, 2020: Hikes, Holt, Mogollon Mountains, Southwest New Mexico.

Our drought, and our record heat wave, ended Friday with the first of our delayed monsoon thunderstorms. So I headed out to the high wilderness Sunday morning looking forward to a cool day and possible rain.

What I found, working my way up the creekside jungle in the canyon, was an explosion of red raspberries, and humidity so high my clothes were literally drenched with sweat before I’d reached the halfway point.

As I climbed the switchbacks toward the crest, thunder rumbled from within a dark mass of clouds to the southeast. The illegal cattle I’d surprised in the canyon a month ago had continued to follow the trail upwards, leaving their pungent cowpies on the trail and attracting flies that swarmed my dripping face.

A cold wind chilled me as I traversed to the final saddle. I could see curtains of rain behind me, out west over the plain. I’d gotten a late start and would stop at the little hill topping the eastern spur of the peak. The cows had been there before me.

My return trip down the canyon was slowed by foraging on raspberries. Bears had been up and down this trail as recently as this morning, eating voraciously and pooping copiously. It was shadier and cooler than earlier and my clothes had partly dried out, when it started to rain, pretty heavily, so I pulled my poncho out of the pack. After that, the problem was pushing my way through the thorny jungle without ripping the thin poncho to shreds.

The rain ended before I climbed out of the canyon, but on the drive home, I was rewarded by several rainbows.

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