If you're a long-time reader of this blog, or if you've read Missing White Girl, you've probably figured out that the San Pedro River is one of my favorite places in southern Arizona. It runs from Sierra de los Ajos in Mexico north across the border, eventually feeding into the Gila River. Its course is a series of graceful arcs and curves and meanders, with oxbows here and there and side channels it fills during times of heavier flow, and sometimes it dries up completely, but most of the year it's water and sandbars and trees and life. Its mammalian biodiversity is greater than anyplace on Earth except the Costa Rican rainforest, according to some who study these things.
Yesterday I spent the day there, exploring some ghost towns from the late 1800s and bushwhacking my way through thickets and wandering trails where they existed, fording the river a couple of times (in spots it's only inches deep, but in others there are holes and even quicksand), looking for the right setting for a short story I'm writing. I eventually figured it out, and just as important, I soaked in the atmosphere of the setting and figured out some aspects of the story that had eluded me until I was there.
But I also have something like thirteen new mosquito bites, my arms are crisscrossed with scratches and cuts, my neck is sunburned. I hiked somewhere between eight and ten miles, much of it up and down steep hills, clinging precariously to cliffs, and shoving my way through thick stands of mesquite. Today I'm sore and itchy. But I can finish my story, because now I know where the characters are, and who they are.
As usual, I took a bunch of pictures, some of which are below.
Some scenes from the Fairbank cemetery: