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.