Monsoon season (July-September) is definitely my favorite time of year to go camping in Arizona. Characterized by intense afternoon thunderstorms that leave the thick pine forests of the White Mountains cool with the fragrant scent of pine in the clean air. Its a great relief from the dry dusty summer heat, and mornings are usually sunny and bright, with the formation of massive cumulus thunderheads over the mountains in the afternoons.
Rain bursts can dump enormous amounts of water in a relatively short time, and can cause flash floods in lower elevations of the state. During monsoon season, Arizona experiences a second spring, that turns everything green and causes an explosion of wildflowers in the mountains and desert. Fire restrictions are normally lifted this time of year, which means campers can once again enjoy sitting around a campfire at night.
Since we do a lot of tent camping, we normally cover and protect our tent with an extra tarp during the rainy season. It really does make a big difference, and helps to keep things dry inside the tent. I have yet to find a waterproof tent that was totally resistant to the hard pounding of rain and hail.
The last time we visited Bambi Ridge, a wicked thunderstorm rolled in and it rained for almost 24 hours straight. The area around our campfire was flooded and it took a couple of days for things to begin to dry out.
Poor little Bindi hated getting her feet wet, so she found a nice large flat stump to lay on.
Mornings were bright and sunny!
While we were sitting around camp enjoying the peace and solitude of the pine forest, we heard a couple of loud but muffled cracks from the the leaning tree on the left. Since the ground was saturated, I was a little worried that it was eventually going to uproot itself and fall. I was very careful not to sit underneath it or even tie our dogs out in the fall zone, just in case......
The following is a short video of the stream which always developed near camp after heavy rainfall. It was so nice and relaxing listening to the tinkling of running water while sitting in camp.
The following photos show the emergence and growth of new plant life on the ridge - little gifts of the monsoon rains.
It was a delight to find wild Iris growing along the stream that passed by our camp!
This is probably one of my favorite photos of this trip - It shows a baby pine tree which is just emerging from the soil and is still capped by it's seed hull, dwarfed for the time by the lowly mushroom.
Since I took so many photos on this trip, I am going to break it up into several posts. Next up: Bear Watch at Bambi Ridge!