Now, I've never been camping in Sycamore Canyon but in May of 1995, we hiked into it. It's not a hike I could do these days as it is rugged country, a steep climb down it from the trailhead. I know the year we did it only because we'd taken photos, and I'd put them in an album.
I had hoped to use one in a trailer for the book. Their lack of quality probably says I won't, but looking at them reminded me of what I saw and can use in the story. That's what writing is about-- using what the writer has experienced and putting it into an imaginary story (well, unless they are writing non-fiction.).
One thing I thought, when looking through them-- how wonderful that today we use digital for most of our photos. They don't get heat damaged and hold their colors forever. I used to think slides took the best shots possible. As it turns out, I had no idea what was coming.
Always carry water in any desert hike or a water purifying system. Since this was a day hike, we carried what we needed. I researched the best purifying system for my characters to use. Amazing how cool those devices are today.
Ranch boss is showing the debris in the tree to indicate the level the floods had filled the valley. In desert regions, those happen often in the summer, with the monsoon.