An afternoon at Bartlett Lake

Water, water, water… There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount…unless you try to establish a city where no city should be. – Edward Abbey; Desert Solitaire

Yesterday’s adventure reminded me that I’m a lake and river girl.

It’s been over a year since I’ve been on the water and nearly 3 years since I’ve taken Herman the paddleboard out to play! I almost forgot my roots!

But yesterday I got over my fear that the office would collapse without me and took a damn day off; the first real day off in 19 days. I grabbed my man, his kid and Herman the paddleboard and took off to a gorgeous oasis where saguaro lined desert mountains plunge straight into the green waters of Bartlett Lake in the Tonto National Forest.


There is no wifi or cell service there. No phone calls, no drama, no Facebook, no texts. Just… blessed silence.

It was wonderful!

The drive up was gorgeous. North Scottsdale is a well moneyed place and it shows. But the landscaping is all native plant xeriscaping so the neighborhoods blend in with the surrounding desert and you almost don’t feel like you’re driving through a city! No high rises, no greedy grass or citrus. No traffic congestion. It’s beautiful!

It took us a few tries to find where the passes for the lake are sold but we eventually succeeded and pulled in to”Rattlesnake Cove” (which freaked his kid out; she’s scared of rattlers) around 11:30 and started unpacking the car and inflating Herman.

Poor guy, after 3 years of waiting around to be used, what usually takes about 10 minutes to do took 30 because I had to remember how to inflate him and the patch kit leaked glue all over his fin screw! I thought we were s.o.l. for a minute!

But we eventually got him inflated, battled the wind with him and made it to the waterfront!


Sweet Victory!

Once I shoved off and regained my lake-legs, it was over… I felt like I had come home! I hadn’t realized how much I missed being around water, having been stuck in the middle of a dirty, loud, smelly city for the last 3 years.

For 5 hours we paddled! We just about forgot that we even brought beach chairs. Next time we ought to just bring a floating cooler so we can go explore, unmoored! Sometimes it was just me out with Herman, but at one point, we piled all three of us on the beast!


Later in the year when it’s 110°+ outside it’ll be too crowded to go (at least for me) so we picked just the right time. Luckily there are a handful of lakes just outside of Phoenix that will satisfy my love of water… Even if they are wasteful and evaporative. Just look at that water line…

Love and dirt,

Sarah Marie



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