Winter in the USA desert southwest is the best time for hiking. The temperatures are nice (40F-70F/4C-20C) and there are usually winter rains that bring the desert life out into the open.
Today my wife and I went on a 6 hour (10 mile) walk in a desert wash in the nearby mountains.
If you’re not familiar with the term “desert wash”, “arroyo” and “wadi” are equally good words to describe this. Imagine a sandy bottomed dry stream bed that has water only during (and shortly after) a rain. Since we were in the mountains, put the dry stream bed in a small canyon, add gravel, rocks and house sized boulders, and you have an idea of what we were hiking through.
For a sense of scale, the rock in the picture is about 15 feet wide and most likely got moved here by the rushing water….so this is not a hike for a rainy day.
This also shows how the rushing water can erode the rock to form low spots where water can be trapped.
Just above this clean pool of water was another, much smaller pool. This one was covered in algae.
While we were standing there, enjoying the complete absence of man made noise, we watched the bees land on the algae, collect water and fly off. At any one time, there were probably 50-60 bees sitting atop the algae. I tried, several times, to get a decent picture of the whole bee covered pool, but they didn’t show up in the image. So, I went the other way and got a nice (for a cellphone camera) closeup of a bee.
For what it’s worth, if you have never experienced a “no made made noise” place, you should seek one out as it is a most amazing experience.
The sides of the wash that are shaded for most of the day are still damp and the desert plants are making the most of the opportunity.