I've had a long time hankering to see the desert, but, like 99.9% of you reading this I had one little problem: I have to swim when I'm warm or it's trouble all around. And voila! SwimTrek's canyons trip traversing three of the Salt River's dammed lakes in Tonto National Forest in Arizona was designed as if SwimTrek guys were reading my mail.
It's hot, sunny, we are surrounded by spectacular cliff faces and desert landscapes, and we are swimming within the light-catching walls of these canyons, along changing configurations of rock, cacti and flora--often literally without other any other swimmers or boats! One day I thought, Is SwimTrek paying someone off so we are the only swimmers in this spectacular place??? (They're not; Arizonans think 90 degree weather too chilly for swimming.)
I'm in the slow poke group--aka Orange Blossoms so named after our lovely orange caps--and even within this group I am challenged by the delighted fortitude of my comrades. Goodness! I am swimming between 2 and 3 hours a day for which I believe I deserve a medal, yet most of everyone swims longer than I do! So if I wasn't feeling humbled by the landscape, I am happily, and humbly stretching my own sense of endurance. One key to this trip has been to have my handy shortie wetsuit--you won't regret bringing it just in case.
A little shout out to trip leaders Marlys and Mark who have helped oblige me for special arrangements around three very disparate agendas:
- Watching the second presidential debate;
- A meditation on the history of Native Americans in this place;
- And scheduling so I could be somewhere for the Jewish Holidays.
Is there nothing these people can't do?