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Into The Out - Part Two
Summer in AZ could be hot, sometimes humid. Then, in middle July, Monsoon season arrived. That too, like dizzy dust devils, was unpredictable. It might provide a torrent of flash flood waters or a slight downburst of no consequence.
Monsoon always seemed a misnomer. My understanding of monsoon is a season of heavy rain lasting for several weeks or months. Meaning, nothing but rain, all the time.
In Arizona, rain came and went in short bursts, though sometimes, as mentioned above, quite heavy. Heavy enough to cause flash floods. Though it never lasted for days and days at a time. It came and went. Or didn't live up to its name, at all.
So, in that context, it isn't really a monsoon, but hey, I was a transplant to Arizona, so I never said much in opposition. Any rain in AZ was welcome, no matter how it came, or how much.
For those of you who have only seen flash floods in movies or in a television show may have been misled by Hollywood. No surprise there. Having seen a few up close and personal, they also are not to be trifled with or taken lightly.
When it rains in Arizona, and you are aware that rain is occurring in the mountains and you are in the desert in an arroyo, ya might want to find higher ground, flat and wide. Arroyos are steep-sided gullies carved by fast running water in arid regions.
Arizona has a plethora of arroyos. When a storm hits, water is not soaked up into the ground much in arid climates. Arizona is an extremely arid climate. As rain pours out of the mountains it accumulates in the valleys, gullies, and arroyos and begins to move; quickly.
Flowing downhill it gains speed and picks up anything in the arroyos; small trees, boulders, dead branches, tires, people hiking, or whatever has been discarded, and sweeps it along as the flashing flood gains speed and moves downhill, faster and faster.
I have stood by small streams that turned into flash floods and have seen the power and destruction. One flash flood absorbed its water and became a mudslide near Roosevelt Lake. It covered part of Highway 188 along Roosevelt Lake and buried three cars under ten feet of mud and sand. No one was killed or injured.
It took highway crews a week to clear the road. What a sight that was. Nothing but heavy sand and mud ten feet high covering the main thoroughfare. So, yes, flash floods are not trifles.
Wisconsin, of course, has nothing to compare with that, except for the excess of rain, cloudy days, occasional tornados, and heavy thunderstorms, also not to be trifled with. Ah Wisconsin, its own varied landscape has gems of different kinds.
From the cliffs along the Mississippi and La Crosse to the Kettle Moraine areas, to the deep, thick forests of the Northern reaches of the state, that end along Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior.
There are waterfalls, vigorously cold streams, rocky bluffs one can hike, and look out over the forever land of farms, woods with wildlife, and a healthy sky of gathering clouds, congregating for rain. The rolling hills with their mixture of deciduous trees are great fall scenes of vibrant color. The Wisconsin River, in the wet fall, swells and offers those who kayak and/or canoe, morning mist and tranquilly quiet spits of land as unnamed sanctuaries.
Now you have a slight comparison of geography between these two homelands of this formerly wandering spirit, and how their effect has been absorbed and translated by my history of living in them. May your journey find you with expanding horizons and peaceful retreats.
Thank you. I am grateful for your visit.