Second run of the season, again mostly a walk, took me five hundred feet and five miles up and down the foothills behind our house in Tonto Hills. Miners pulled gold out of these hills in the late nineteenth century. Once the mines were spent, cattle ranchers moved in. Now much of the land is part of Tonto National Forest.
In 2005, the Cave Creek Complex Fire scorched most of these hills. On one particular day, if the wind had been blowing south, the fire would have taken out our neighborhood. Instead it turned north burning 45 thousand acres on the east side of I-17. Lightening started the fire and Buffalo grass planted by the ranchers fueled its spread.