Arizona Rains

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago, I posted about the extreme dryness this area of Southeast Arizona has experienced. We had unseasonably warm weather without any significant rain/snowfall in months. One hiker told me that the creeks in Madera Canyon have not had any water running since October.

Well, that has changed! Wednesday morning, the rain began, and it continued until Friday evening. We went from a wide-open view of the Canyon to this one.


But, the most amazing part of this transformation is one that I can’t share with you. It’s the incredible aroma of Madera Canyon opening up to the rain. It’s as though every tree, grass, and shrub has opened every cell in order to absorb the maximum moisture. In doing so, the most incredible scents have been released – heavy doses of juniper and pine mixed with mesquite and a trace of woodsmoke from our neighbor’s stove. Not just your average “walk in the woods in a rainstorm” scent. (Hey Google! I need an app to capture this – an aromaphoto that I can share. Apple, of course, will call their app iSmell). After the first day of rain, the scent faded away. But it was a fantastic experience while it lasted. In the meantime, green has exploded everywhere. Hillsides full of tough brown grasses are now a pale, hazy green, and the invasive mesquite trees that plague the Arizona landscape have gone from bare skeletons to leafy trees. Does this rapid transformation only happen in extremely dry climates? I don’t know.

When the sun poked out Saturday, we booted up and headed into the Canyon for a hike. It was delightfully cool and fresh. The rushing creek, which we crossed several times was a delight to hear.




We trekked up the Carrie Nation Mine Trail, where rusted equipment from the copper-mining days of the Canyon, about a hundred years ago, still remains.


Madera Canyon is full of old mines – we often hike past the Vault Mine, and our rental cabin is on the site of the old Suzi Lode Mine.

Full of energy after being cooped up for three days of rain, we traversed over to the Agua Caliente Trail



I’m not sure how legal this campfire spot would be, but it had a magnificent view of Green Valley.


It was just a great day to be out on the Trail.


That’s Mt. Wrightson in the distance – the highest peak in the area, at about 9700′.

Our half-way point of the hike was Josephine Saddle, where the Boy Scout Monument always makes me pause. Three Boy Scouts lost their lives there in a freak snowstorm in 1958 while on a weekend camping trip.


The last four miles of our hike were down the Supertrail, where more great Canyon views unfolded. There was much more foot traffic on this portion of our hike – we had the trails all to ourselves on the first part.



What a great day for a hike!

I’m writing this very late Sunday night (about 3am), and the rain is once again pounding the cabin. We’ve got high wind warnings for Monday, so it’s going to be an interesting day. Desert? Here?

16 thoughts on “Arizona Rains

  1. it is now nearly 31 years ago, that Nancy and I went to our cross country tandem trip.
    your stories always remind me of your great trip, enjoy. keep the pictures and stories coming


      • Yep, staying in LHC until Mar 20th. Although we’ve been doing get aways without the RV. We’ve been to Laughlin, Phoenix and have another weekend trip to Phoenix upcoming. It’s nice to change things up!


  2. Beautiful hiking country. I remember smells like you describe when a rare rain would come to the high desert of California when I lived there.


    • That are lots of great hikes here, Dave. Every year, I vow to learn the names of a few more of that native trees and plants, but I never really get too far with that plan. So, I just take photos, and speak in generalities! Has your snow gone away yet? You and Sheila sure got an eyeful for deciding to stay put for your first winter in the mountains!


  3. Beautiful photos! I especially like the one of John walking down the path with the mountain in the background. Glad you are able to be out and about after three days cabin bound. Lovely scenery to wake up to every morning!


    • Thanks, Deb. Maybe you should get yourself another (small) place here so we can share some of this stuff. You would love it here – it’s fantastic! Looking forward to seeing more of your new place – bet you’ve gotten it all feeling like home already.

      See you soon.


  4. I loved your description of how it smelled there when the rains came! It’s something that I notice here in Michigan after a dry spell, and it remains one of my favorite parts of being out in the woods. There’s a word for that scent, which I promised myself that I’d always remember, but of course I have forgotten it despite the promise.

    I also loved the views from during your hike, it must have been doubly good for you, stretching your legs after being cooped up, and watching everything turning green again.


    • I hope you remember that word, Jerry. It would be fun to know it. Down on the desert floor, when there’s even the tiniest bit of moisture, the creosote bushes all release their dry, bitter scent.This luscious scent was very different than that. Google really needs to work on that app so we can share this stuff!

      The hike was great! That memory may have to hold us for awhile. It is howling here right now. Not looking forward to going outside at all!

      Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s