Sirena and I celebrated the re-opening of the Catalina district by heading out to our most accessible and dependable swimming hole. Even at 6:30 when we got started it was already warm, and when we reached the canyon floor, I was seriously worried that my sweat glands would be providing the lions share of the moisture on this trip. The canyon was dryer than expected, with only a few stinky pools and no flow at all. We hoped conditions would improve up canyon, so we hiked on - and we were right (though we could never have guessed how right)!
Around 15 minutes up from that first small fall (you know, the one that stops most of the picnic hikers) we heard water running. It was a bit confusing as the creek bottom we were hiking in was bone dry. As we came up and over another rock pile, there was the creek coming toward us, literally. In what was probably the world's slowest flash flood, the creek was filling with water that likely fell on the mountain top in the monsoon storm yesterday evening! As we watched, the water filled one small pool after another, gradually making it's way into the the rivulets and then falls we were familiar with. It was magical to watch.
After a very brief discussion about the safety of heading upa narrow canyon while water levels were rising, we continued on. It was hot and sunny, no new water was going to fall while we were out, and we could easily outrun this flood even if we were in wheelchairs. We made it past the tight spot that we've come to call "The maneuver", though my new Merrel's were less than helpful there (I ended up barefoot). At the big pool, we had an impressively rushing waterfall, shade and lots of good swimming. The water was dirty - as is typical for early in the monsoon season - but the temperature was perfect and the floating was sweet. A little bit of heaven that the gov'ment just opened up for us again.
We started back when the sun told us it wasn't kidding around about the heat thing, around 9. As we hiked back it was fun to identify pools that had been dry or exceedingly low on our way up. Then we passed the flood. That's right, after more than an hour luxuriating at the pool and a slow return hike, we still passed the advance of the stream. We just couldn't get over it.
Just after we left the running water behind, we met our first hikers of the trip - a young group heading in search of swimming. We gave them our beta, shared some information about the Colorado toads that were infesting the pools, and promised them that there would be running water if they just went far enough -or- waited long enough.
By the time we hit the hill it was over 90 and with the canyon's added humidity, it was just icky. It just made the AC in Bu feel that much better on the way home...