Sycamore Reservoir – Parts 1 and 2
I backpack into the Catalina’s to look at features I believe were created by Arc Blast.
The Santa Catalina Mountains are unique in several ways. They are one of the ‘sky islands’ of the Madrean Archipelago. The nautical terms, island and archipelago, are used to describe the region because it resembles a dry island chain, dividing two seas of desert. The islands are mountains and the waters are cactus.
The eastern sea is the Chihuahua Desert. I liken it to the Sargasso Sea – grasses on swells of rolling land with volcanic protrusions scattered here and there. It’s breezy and bucolic, an extension of the plains where antelope and buffalo once thrived. From West Texas to Arizona, and deep into Mexico, Chihuahua steams with thunderstorms in the summer, glazes with frost in the winter, and is a crystal cocoon of green grass and warmth in the Spring and Fall.
The western sea is the Sonoran. It’s an overgrown jungle of desert, if there ever was one. Wetter than a desert should be, it teems with botanical danger. Cholla, Prickly Pear, Barrel, Occatillo, and the most grand succulent of all, Saguaro, wear cloaks of surgically sharp needles. Even the trees, Palo Verde and Mesquite, have thorns.
As inviting to pain as it is, it’s also a bounty of color and plenty that supports life in varietal abundance. Birds gather here from all of North America. The Sonora is the continent’s corridor for avian migration. In all respects, it’s the terrestrial equivalent to the Great Barrier Reef – birds swim in profusion like fish, reptiles skulk in lieu of crustaceans, cartoon cactus replaces coral, snakes are snakes, and coyote, bobcat and cougar predate instead of shark. It’s a coral reef without water.
The mountains are the thing, though. They are the way birds and mammals hopscotch the way across dry, desert seas from the Sierra Madre in Mexico, to the Colorado Plateau. They are islands, where summits rise to ten thousand feet, covered in Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir and Aspen. Between the peaks and desert floor, environments layer by elevation. Chihuahuan grasslands overlay foothills of Saguaro forests. Canyons sprout sycamore and cottonwood groves. Juniper, Oak and Pinion stand in mid-layers with caps of forested woods with Canadian winters.
The Santa Catalina’s are queen of the Sky Islands, with exceptional majesty and drama in her cliffs, pinnacles and deep canyon vaults. She is a rock pile, though. Stark and bold granite shelves stack canted in a giant monocline.
There are deep cuts in its stacked layers of rock that bear the signature of lightning. Sharp angled, lightning-bolt crevasses shoot up rock faces, their floors exposing dykes of quartz veined rock with a grain at cross pattern to the surrounding cliffs. In other areas, features of precisely the same shape form on soil, the quartz rock replaced with sediments of starkly different color where plants won’t grow.
The obvious explanation that passes muster for science has these features the result of erosion from rock-slide and water. I don’t think that is the case. Their angled, jagged progression up slopes and cliffs belies a gravity induced causation. I came to examine some of these features, because to me they appear to be evidence of Arc Blast. Arc Blast is a theory I propose for Telluric currents that once erupted from Earth in scorching arcs, and shattered across the surface of the land following a voltage gradient of surface conductive channels.
There is also a pinnacle I examine, called Thimble Peak, that is known by local native lore to be a sacred place. As I have found in most instances, sacred mountains are fulgamites formed by true lightning – arcs from storms in the sky. They stand like electrodes with dykes of rock radiating from the core, a formation created by a sustained and energetic arc. Thimble Peak is no exception, looking like a battery terminal jutting from Earth.
The footprint of the entire mountain changes shape where Thimble Peak rises in stark contrast to surrounding ridges. Deep gorges surround it’s mesa-like sub-structure that finger out into the lightning bolt gouges. This trip takes me to the eastern gorge where I camp in its upper reach. A hot, dry day-hike takes me onto the backbone of ridge behind Thimble Peak to get a hard-to-reach perspective on it, and the giant arc features in the canyons.
The hike is in the Chihuahua ecological zone. It’s spring and the grasses blossom with color. It’s also warm and more buggy than normal. You’ll hear me spitting and swatting gnats quite a bit.
In Part two, I bring out the whiteboard and give a brief discussion of how I think fulgamites like thimble peak are integral to mountain formations like the Catalina’s.
For the price of covfefe…
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