Although I went right to bed, I had no intention of sleeping.I still had a lot of homework to do.And, this type of homework was fun, man.
As a final birthday present, my father had agreed to drive me and Lobo to MaderaCanyon in the morning.I had heard wonderful things about this place, but I’d never been there before.
I excitedly took out my MaderaCanyon books, maps, and brand new bird book and excitedly went to work.
Well past , I was still awake under my bed covers with a tiny flashlight in my hand.Good old Lobo was right there with me.This stuff was pretty interesting!
First, I learned all about the history of MaderaCanyon.Madera is the Spanish word for lumber.Early settlers had cut down lots of trees there to build their homes in Tucson.The book said the canyon was way up in the SantaRitaMountains and described it as ‘a beautiful, moist, refreshing haven from the hot desert.’That sounded pretty cool.
It was also in the CoronadoNational Forest, which is huge.The book said this forest contained 12 mountains and almost 2 million acres of land in both Arizona and New Mexico.That’s a lot of trees!
MaderaCanyon was also loaded with hiking trails. There were all kinds – from easy, sissy ones to steep, tough ones.There were so many hiking trails I couldn’t decide which one to take in the morning.
But what fascinated me the most about MaderaCanyon were the birds.The book said, ‘MaderaCanyon is a haven for bird watchers, with over 240 different species of birds.’
Can you believe it?Over 240 species of birds!It was hard for me to imagine that many different kinds of birds.
Then I saw the information on hummingbirds and really got excited.The book said, ‘There are 22 species of hummingbirds, and 16 of these species can be found in MaderaCanyon.Some of them fly 2,500 miles to reach the canyon.’
“How can those itsy bitsy birds fly that far?” I whispered to Lobo.
My dog just looked back at me and yawned.I guess he was getting tired.But he woke up real quick when I read this part to him.
“The hummingbird is considered nature’s stunt bird.Unlike other birds, it can hover, and fly up, down, and backwards.Like a helicopter, a hummingbird can even tilt the angle of its wings and execute precise, accurate turns and movements.”
I could tell that Lobo was impressed.But now I was getting sleepy.2 AM!Where had the time gone?
I put up the books, shut off the flashlight, and got ready for some shut-eye.But I looked out the window first.That was a mistake, man.
It was a clear night, and a full moon was now shining down on the desert.Just as I was about to fall asleep, my eyeballs popped wide open and I stared out that window again.
The full moon?The full moon?What had I read somewhere about MaderaCanyon and the full moon?Think, Bonafacio, think!
I turned on my flashlight again and found the book I was looking for.It was one of those weird mysteries of Arizona type books.I had lots of them.
I gulped hard, and read the passage out loud to Lobo.I definitely wanted to get his reaction on this one.
“When a full moon rises above MaderaCanyon, a ghostly figure soon appears.This ghost stands high on a rock formation across a high canyon wall, usually between and .It’s a large hooded figure with the face of a skeleton.It moves back and forth on the rocks until it finally vanishes into the darkness.It has been photographed and seen by countless numbers of people over the years.”
Even old Lobo was sitting up now.His big floppy black ears were pointing straight up.
“Oye Chihuahua, Lobo!And we’re going hiking out there tomorrow?Good thing we’re going in the daylight.”
Lobo seemed to agree.
“There’s more, Lobo.Listen to this!”
Lobo was staring at me now, his big black eyes almost popping out of their sockets, too.
“The ghost has a legend attached to it.It’s said to be the spirit of an Indian woman who once loved a great warrior.After he was killed in a battle in the canyon, she died of grief.Some believe that she still wanders MaderaCanyon in the moonlight, still searching for her dead husband.”
I quickly shut off the flashlight again.And this time, I hid under the covers with old Lobo.We were both shivering now.
Man, that was pretty spooky, and neither of us got much sleep that night.
Great write, well suited for young readers full of imagination. I'm always fascinatied my colibris, humming birds - I spent hours looking out for them in my Houston garden, seeing them dashing in to the next hibiscus flower. These are most lovely creatures. A while ago someone found a fossil humming bird of Eocene age in the famous Messel shale. Look's like they have been around for a while. And ghosts.. Yeah, hey are kind of intersting, too. As long they don't get too close. Franz
I used to live near the Santa Rita mountains (in Vail, East of Tucson). I saw many hummingbirds when I worked at various houses as a handyman. I never saw Medera Canyon. I did not know there were so many species of hummingbirds in that area.
I enjoyed this story. I think many young people would enjoy it too. Very good writing.
nice write, ed! loved your beautiful story, and seems like this would be a great book to read! i normally don't do mystery stories, but this would probably be one that i would really enjoy! well done, buddy!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :D