Tonto March 19

“We hiked. The sky was sunny. It was overcast. It was rainy, the weather mild between the raindrops. Hail fell one afternoon and we sought refuge under a rock overhang. The trail wandered perilously close to the steep drop-off to the river and I planted my feet with deliberation, buffeted by the wind.

We hiked. This was the put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other part of the program. I availed myself of every opportunity to stop. One day I stopped mid-stride and broke into enthusiastic applause. Jay stopped and started to applaud, too. A century plant (or agave) was sending forth a central stalk—thick as your arm and twice the height of a man—preparing to bloom.”

Veteran Grand Canyon hiker Deb Liggett describes the hypnotic effect of a multi-day hike on the Tonto Trail, in her essay “Marking Our Place,” one of the 40+ poems. essays, and stories in the first issue of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry, coming your way later this month.

agave stalk


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