JJ and I were craving a bit more solitude before we reported to work again, and Soupy demanded room to run. We headed southwest from Tucson, to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, where we hit just the right time of year to be absolutely alone. Hunting is allowed on the refuge, but the season had just ended before we arrived. It’s not prime birding season, or time for spring flowers. We got all set up, settled down outside, and just gaped at each other in amazement; it was totally silent. On the day we arrived, there wasn’t even a whisper of a breeze, and we could hear the blood pumping through our ears.
It’s the kind of place where there’s not too much to do, and we were fine with that. We went on walks on the roads that wind through the refuge, got educated at the visitor center, and went on a few short hikes. We watched the sun change colors on the Baboquivari mountains, far across the valley to the west of us. For the Tohono O’odham, the highest peak in the range is the center of the universe and also the home of the creator, I’itoli. The grassland area where we were camped was both a link to time immemorial, as a homeland for antelope and deer that have been there forever, and a reminder of the very recent past, with invasive mesquite trees planted by the cattle ranchers of the 1800s.
That sort of landscape is not for everyone, but it definitely served the purpose we wanted. We slept great in the dark silence, saw a million stars, and felt safe letting little Soupy run free until the coyotes started to howl at dusk. The pictures that I have seem dusty and dull, but it was a great stop for all the things that you just can’t capture in a photo.
Baboquivari Peak, tall in the center:
Wetlands trail through an important riparian habitat:
Arivaca Creek Trail led past the homestead of Eva Antonia Wilbur-Cruce, author of “A Beautiful, Cruel Country”:
Next up: we move to our spring job at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, in Gold Canyon, AZ. And boy, will we have some stories for you!