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Lenticular clouds and other oddities...

There's nothing like skipping work with your colleagues to go hiking on a Tuesday morning.  One of my attendings got me out of rounds at the hospital to go hiking w/ her and her students and 2 of her kids.  We drove out onto the Res for over an hour, typical scrubby desert occasionally dotted w/ volcanic rock eventually giving way to rubble and ash spewed from an ancient eruption.  The long dormant peaks sit  in the distance, snow-capped, peacefully overlooking this patchwork landscape created by mere moments of violence and ages of daily wear and tear.  We drove to the edge of this rift in the ground where, surprisingly enough in this arid place, there is a wide, rushing waterfall.  It was breathtaking.  We clambered down into the canyon and hiked around the falls.  One side of the canyon wall is made of this smooth, dark gray, cubic volcanic rock.   The other side is typical red desert sandstone.   The river that separates these disparate formations is muddy and swift but not terribly wide.  It's a bizarre contrast.  Much like the sight of a huge waterfall in the middle of the desert.  We bought some fry bread from some Navajo folks in a little makeshift diner (comprised of a small airstream and a plastic patio table and chairs) located on the side of the road in the village on our way back to town and to work. 

Went stargazing this week too.  There's a mountaintop observatory not too far from here, elevation >7200 ft.  The night was clear and cold and the stars were thick.  This is one of the things I remember from childhood trips to AZ -- so many stars!!!  Saw the rings of Saturn through the giant telescope.  The moonrise was late, visible on the way back from the hills across the desert.  It was as red as the rock in these parts and HUGE.  It looked like Mars coming up over the horizon, or a dim sun.  

I'll admit to some fatigue after a day dealing with difficult patients (the situations the source of the difficulty more than the patients themselves), and even a kind of fatigue stemming from the pervasive brownness of this town.  But when I see the mountains in the distance something uncoils deep inside of me.  It almost makes me giddy.  And it doesn't matter how many times I come around a bend or over a rise to see the mountains, it happens every time.  Soothes any green withdrawals I may have.  And lenticular clouds make me happy. 



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2011 07:06 am (UTC)
I'm envious! I so wish I could do something for the nature lover/nerd in me. By the Rings of Saturn, you did have a great week!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )