Ebb and Flow

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 1999

DEBORAH CORRAO / L’Observateur / August 14, 1999

I’m back to work today after a few hectic weeks, including a trip to Phoenix the last week of July.

It was my first adventure in the desert in the summer (and more than likely my last). A couple of years ago I went to Santa Fe and Albuquerqueduring the fall and found it very pleasant.

Before I left home I heard a lot of talk about “dry heat” in Phoenix as opposed to our always-humid heat here. Maybe I’m just used to breathingin the swamp air, but I can tell you I’ve never been as hot as I was in Phoenix.

One afternoon a group of us decided to take a city bus out to the Desert Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately, the bus only took us to the entrance ofthe zoo, about a half mile away from the garden gate. We started hikingalong the blacktop road to the gardens, ill prepared for the intensity of the heat.

I’m not physically fit to begin with. Add to that a lack of water and you’vegot a recipe for disaster. Just as I was beginning to feel like a cartooncharacter on all fours, tongue hanging out, crawling toward an oasis that turns out to be a mirage, by some act of God a maintenance man driving a flatbed truck drove up with an offer to drive us the rest of the way to the gardens.

I had to sit on the back end of the truck with the backs of my legs hanging over a metal rim. I was bruised on both legs the next day, but it was asmall price to pay to go on living.

Upon arrival we had all decided we didn’t want to spend any more time out in the Arizona sun and imposed upon a friendly ranger to drive us back to the bus stop in his air conditioned truck.

I learned a valuable lesson that week in Phoenix. I didn’t go anywhere elsethat week without a water bottle, and I walked as slowly as I could. I tookadvantage of the misters that many hotels and merchants install on the sidewalks in front of their businesses to cool off patrons.

Surprisingly, we found some respite from the heat further to the north where the cactus of the desert gives way gives way to the mountainous terrain of the Grand Canyon.

For those of you who haven’t had the chance to visit the Grand Canyon, it’s worth the time and trouble, absolutely breathtaking in its beauty and grandeur.

But go in October.

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