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quite a lower body workout

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Posted by Zonie on December 25, 2021 at 03:34:32

Today was the first day of my workplace's end of the year vacation. We go back the first Monday in January. It was also a rainy day. I still had to get a late start to my hike, as I had some shopping to do. Tomorrow is a major public holiday, so my options would be very limited. I had already bought gifts for others, but I had to make time for some basic supplies for myself.

The nearest recording station to the west segment of the Reach 11 Recreation area was Deer Valley Airport, and they got 1.46" of rain today, which was actually a bit more than was ideal for my purposes, but with Arizona's share of Colorado River water about to be rationed, we've still got to celebrate our good fortune.

The constructions crews that tore up the desert for an expansion of the Equestrian Center that never happened had created a great many drainage problems that persist two years later. The weeds that grew after last winter's rains had clogged some of the drainages I had earlier created. I had saved some threadbare socks for this sort of occasion, and I had a beat-up old pair of work boots that already leak, so it doesn't matter how deep the puddles are, and they still have the steel toes, so they'd be good at kicking out drainages. Apart from that I wore blue denim overalls, a brown western shirt, a camouflage ball cap and a camouflage poncho. I know ponchos don't really keep you dry, but they can keep you warm in a winter downpour.

I was enjoying slogging on the muddy trail for a while when I stepped into a deep puddle that should have been draining and wasn't. The slope was downward to the southwest, and I had created drainages for that puddle and linked puddles last winter. I waded into the marsh to try to find out why the water wasn't draining.

I had difficulty seeing where the deeper water was through the grass that had grown up through it, but eventually I found a puddle in the arroyo that wasn't connected to the puddle that was higher. I stepped into the puddle to try to kick apart the mud and connect the puddles, but soon found the problem that too much rain can bring. I sank deep into thick mud, and it took a lot of my lower body strength to free myself. It took a lot of doing, but I finally connected those two puddles. I wandered further downstream and found an area where I heard running water, and I figured that part was draining all right, so I'd check back on this area later and go on to drain other areas.

There were a couple areas where I could improve on the drainage by kicking a bit and one area where the trail itself seemed to be turning into a drainage and was being partly washed out.

Then I headed west and found a large puddle apart from a trail I had often wanted to drain. There was a partial washout from a nearby arroyo that seemed to be closing in on that mud puddle. The end of the puddle closest to the washout was under a mesquite tree, a bit of a prickly situation. Fortunately denim overalls are good armor against thorns, and I could get in there.

The problem wasn't the thorns. The area that looked like I could stomp in to make a trench turned out to be deep thick mud that got my feet stuck and into which I sank up to my shins. Again it took great effort to free myself, but I was able to do it with only my lower body strength and from a standing positions. For those who find themselves in this situation without strong enough legs, the way to escape is to get down and crawl out. I didn't have to do that today, though there were a few times I was considering that.

Once I freed myself, I went to the edge of the washout and kicked that down to work towards the puddle the other way. I noticed that I had had some effect and the mud hole into which I stepped was starting to fill with water, so I headed back in that direction and simply mired myself a short distance away from where I had mired myself before. I think an intensification of the rain helped a bit, but by persistence I was able to get that mud watery and to connect that puddle to the washout so it could drain.

Then I headed northeast and encountered some horse dung on the trail. This reminded me of a documentary in which Professor Starkey had demonstrated how Saxon peasants in medieval times had made wattle-and-daub walls, so I stomped the horse droppings into the mud. For some reason Starkey had considered this an unpleasant job. I found it quite nice.

Then I got back to the initial drainage, and apparently my success had been limited. The large and deep puddle was still across the trail. I headed back to the marsh and found some other areas to connect, but the early December darkness caused me to conclude I couldn't usefully remain there much longer. I worked my way out of the deep mud one last time and waded back to the trail. I headed back to the parking lot and notice that the puddles I traversed on the way had largely washed my boots and lower overalls clean. There were several other cars in the parking lot, so I wasn't the only one out there enjoying the weather.

When I took my boots and socks off at home I noticed that my boots were still quite intact. All that thick mud had caused the laces of the left boot to come undone, but the boots themselves were fine. The socks were muddy but largely intact, not much worse for the wear.

Well that was my fun for the first day of vacation. Muddy Christmas to all!

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