Saturday, November 26, 2011

Verde River: Sunrise, Day After Thanksgiving

This road was dark and rocky, and smelled like the javelina pack that lives in the gulch. I put on my headlamp briefly, but didn't need it, as the predawn twilight was more than enough to find our way. The home gulch of a javelina pack is not one of my favorite smells. But at least it lets you know that they are around, so we were careful to watch for them as we invaded their territory, bushwhacking our way down to the river.

Gravel to gulch before sunrise

The dark gulches dumped us out onto a steep road, with more bushwhacking ahead. But our goal was within sight, with only a barbed wire fence to slither through to get near the water.

Sun still not up yet. High-ISO shot with my camera brightens up the scene, although noisy.

Scoring the alternative choices, we rated "walk down to the Verde River to watch the sunrise together" at +50 compared to "go shopping with crowds of crazed bargain-seekers for crap you don't need that will end up in the landfill in a year or two" at -75. Sunrise over the river was the clear choice. This was our Bright Friday. Condolences if yours was black.

I felt the water at this point

I may have mentioned something in the previous, Puscifer-crazed post about going swimming here. My woman talked sense into me regarding this point, stressing the greater sense of doing so some summer morning, rather on a November morning when the air temperature was 43F. But, I did bend down here, plunged my hands in, splashed the Verde's waters onto my face and neck, to feel the water's chill. 

The air was fluffy with cotton from the cottonwoods, the ground littered with their golden leaves

Ah, there's the sun

The sun peers over the mountain and lights the tops of the yellow trees on fire above a shadow line shaped like the mountaintop. That shadow line drops lower and lower, as the chorus of mist hanging over the river chants goodbye.

Bringer of life to a dry valley, coloring it green

We startled a small group of mule deer, gray with their big ears. They slipped through the brush, quite silent, then stopped on a hill on the other side to regard us warily. I took one step toward them, and they vanished. A bit like in a dream. I try to hold on to moments like that one. Like a mountain-shaped sunrise shadow line, these moments all fall into the river and wash away, though.

Mountain-shaped sunrise shadow-line dropping into the water

Mule deer about to bolt

the Verde River inviting me to stay

Also check out the map of Arizona's rivers, each miraculous, and troubled, and dammed, in its own way.



  1. What a great way to spend the day. I, like you, turned my back to the chaos of Black Friday, and chose to take a long walk along a path with a pond and numerous other calming attributes.

  2. Hello JK, I feel the benefits of a long walk will far outlast the brief high of shopping with the horde. And listening to a quiet river at sunrise is one of my favorite sounds.


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