High up on the desert savannah to the Sierra de Juarez, we played Manadou Diabate, a kind of Malian harp and tabla flamenco. We rode into pines - Ponderosas, Jeffreys, jutting out of the sand with the wildly shaped granite rocks that littered this entire range.
These Sierras are a bioecological island - pines of Alaskan origin, a place of snow and ice, lakes and mountains, surrounded by desert. The lake itself is shallow, but five miles around and surrounded by a rugged mountain and plains landscape. It is cows, bats, coyotes, wild horses and apparently a few catfish in the lake itself.
But I wanted to find this out for myself, so I shoved Sonora through the marsh and circled the bouldery islands near the northern shore. No fish, but the view of the granite peaks at night from these islands was stunning; and the Milky Way was bright enough to lead me around the islands and onto them; between the pines and under uneven boulders.
Returning at dark,
Vance had just returned from walking the granitic peaks. "Check it out,"
he said - a set of 8-inch lacerations up his leg. "Fell, huh?"