Mile 120, La Selvilla near Colossal Cave

Woke at 2am to the sound of coyotes gossiping and noticed flashes of lightning to the north over the Santa Catalinas and the Rincons. I was hoping that the storms would stay north but then noticed a flash due west and hopped out of my warm sleeping bag to put up my tarp. The first drops hit as I dived back in. The rain continued for an hour or so.

The dryness of the desert keeps it clean, and the rinsing of a cold rainstorm makes it sparkle. The wash whose flank I was camped on was exuberant with birdsong at first light and the first rays of dawn lit up the head high mounds of prickly pear, making a glowing cactus garden for my morning walk.

I followed the last of the Santa Rita foothills out into the low plain, bottoming out at Cienega Creek, a rare low desert stream that creates a lush riparian woodland in the midst of a dry and rocky desert.

A few more miles took me to Colossal Cave for my resupply. I also grabbed a burger and a few beers before heading down to the campground. I was planning to tour the cave in the morning- I last saw it on a field trip on 3d grade — but the campground is a mile and a half away and 500 feet down from the cave. Caves all look pretty much alike anyway.

On to Saguaro NP, and Mica Mtn (a 5000 ft climb) tomorrow.