the northern range
Yesterday we drove up the mountain into the pine forests and hiked to the top of Lizard Rock. The bare white stone at the top of the peak stretches lengthwise for several hundred feet; from certain angles it is supposed to resemble a reclining lizard. We stopped on the crown of its head and sat and read for a timeRobert Graves, The Greek Myths (Eric's) and Tobias Wolff, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs (mine). To our north was the tree-covered back range of the Catalinas, with the red and white needles of the radio towers rising from the peak of Mt. Lemmon. To the south was a deep green bowl of forest, across which the dark shadows of cumulus clouds crawled, then the lower front range screening off most of the Tucson basin. The east and south sides of the city, and just part of downtown, stretched far enough to be visible. Eric had some pastels and we drew pictures of supernatural creatures landing on the mountain; then we tore up plastic bags and tied them into a long string for a stick-and-paper kiteon the bare rock, with dropoffs of several hundred feet in all directions, the wind was nearly constant. Once we had attached a stick for a tail our kite flew surprisingly well, though it tended to go into a rapid clockwise spin. We stayed on the rock until sunset and got mildly sunburned, and our peace was tempered only by the knowledge that if something awful had happened, we would have no way of knowing.
Eric also told me about the hikes that Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir had taken together in Yosemite. I had no idea.