Chiricahua National Monument

06Apr12

On Wednesday, March 14th we woke up before sunrise to find that our water bottles had frozen solid. Camping in the base of the valley proved to be a little colder than we thought. A beautiful sunrise greeted us and we were packed up and back on the road by 7am. Traffic was nonexistent.  We travelled down 186 toward the small town of Dos Cabezas not sure what we would find. It turned out to be almost deserted with the few remaining homes spread out on both sides of the road and not a store in sight. You could see the various attempts at settlements that either failed completely, barely hung on or now quietly occupied. There were a few places for sale too. From the Willcox Playa Wildlife Area,  in the Sulpher Spring valley we slowly climbed up to just over 5,000′ at Dos Cabezas. As the day wore on we decided to split up in order to get a  campsite before the campground filled up. We had called the day prior and the woman at the desk informed us that hey were typically filling up by 1 or 2 pm. We were feeling a little anxious so, Bryan headed on ahead and secured a campsite. Splitting up is something we rarely if ever do. It was a different ride for sure. Being solo you had to keep a look out for your own safety. Traffic was really low through these parts which was good. Bryan got to the campground, checked in and secured a site and then rode back out to meet up with Debi who was not far behind.

Dos Cabezas Peak in the morning light

Near Dos Cabezas

That day we met our campground neighbor, Vern who was camped in a Casita travel trailer. They are made in Rice, TX and there is a four month waiting list for them. Very cool and very light. We spent a couple of days hiking almost all the trails in the park  with Vern. We had a great time chatting about all sorts of topics. We took a lot of pictures together as we hiked through the park. At 8:30 am every morning the park provided a shuttle to the top of Masai Point which was about a six mile drive from the campground. From the top, hikers can make there way down their choice of trails eventually making their way back to the visitor center. A fine service indeed.

Debi on the Echo Canyon trail

Echo Canyon

Along the trail

Wonderland of Rocks

A balanced rock

Debi and Vern

Gravity defying

More rock formations

On the C.C.C. built trail to Sugarloaf mountain

Looking back over the Sulpher Springs Valley we were in the day prior

Rhyolite formations from an old volcanic eruption

One night we took an evening shuttle up to the Echo Canyon trailhead parking lot for a stargazing session with Kevin from the Kitt Peak Observatory. This was a fascinating evening. Kevin had a high power laser pointer and could point out constellations and other features. We looked at Jupiter with three of its moons, Venus, Mars and a whole bunch of other things trough a very high powered telescope. Thanks Kevin!

Fence post in Bonita Canyon

Bonita Canyon

Debi next to a Lechuguilla

In May and June of 2011 a human caused wildfire tore through the Chiricahua Mountains. The photos below are from our hikes through the burned area almost a year later. The fire was named the Horseshoe 2 Fire. Almost a quarter of a million acres burned.

Burned area along trail

Temporarily devoid of vegetation

Burned tree

Stay tuned for more pictures and stories from Chiricahua National Monument. This place is too good to leave! See you soon B+D.

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2 Responses to “Chiricahua National Monument”

  1. 1 Frank Zangara

    You guys are great.

    That place is now on my bucket list.

    Frank

  2. Totally awesome adventure you guys! Your pictures and stories are amazing! Keep the fire burning in your hearts! Trod on!


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