Chiricahua National Monument to Safford, AZ


We intended to leave on May 1st from Chiricahua National Monument. On Monday April 30 we were packing up the last of our stuff and cleaning our little house when we heard on the park radio that someone had spotted smoke near Fort Bowie. As we listened, the wildfire was located near Apache Pass, the exact route we were hoping to leave on the next day. The fire grew during into the afternoon and so we decided to delay our departure a day rather than change our route. The fire ended up consuming about 1700 acres-read the report here. We left on Wednesday morning May 2nd at 5am. It was just daybreak and we’re pretty sure we heard coatis making a racket nearby, but alas we never saw them.

The ride to Apache Pass was easy and beautiful with the sunrise. We turned on to Apache Pass Rd. and located a great horned owl nest that our friend Karen had tipped us off to, thanks Karen! Wow, she was just sitting in the nest, sleepily looking at us.

Sunrise over Chiricahua Mountains

Looking towards Dos Cabezas and Apache Pass

Sleepy Great Horned Owl

We ran into a couple employees from Chiricahua National Monument and said goodbye again to Jason and Steve. We climbed our way through the pass, noting smoldering spots from the previous day’s burn. It didn’t look too bad because there wasn’t much fuel for the fire, just open grassland. We felt good about delaying a day as we imagined the air quality to be pretty low the day before.


Burn spots from Tuesday May 1st fire

Ocotillo in bloom along the way

We took a break for breakfast at the Fort Bowie trail head. While we were munching a whole fleet of firefighters pulled up. They all marched off the tend to the remains of the fire. They were all looking sooty and strong.

Marching off to make sure the fire is out

It was downhill all the way to Bowie, AZ. To think that 6 weeks had passed since we were on our bikes before just seemed wild, like yesterday. In Bowie we mailed a box of stuff home from the post office-including the jeans we purchased to wear as part of our uniforms at Chiricahua. We stopped for water at a small store and while we were filling up a giant donkey ran across the road and past us down a dirt road-totally bizarre. Bowie was kind of a ghost town, but with people still in it.

For sale in Bowie

We left Bowie in the dust and rode through miles of pistachio and pecan groves. We were on a sandy dirt road for about 9 miles, had a great tailwind and eventually turned to pavement. We traveled the next 33 miles on BLM land, practically by ourselves. It was awesome. We stopped and had lunch at Hot Well Dunes Recreation area. Unfortunately it was just too darn hot to take a soak in the hot tubs there. Maybe next time.

Pistachio plantation

Sandy road

Paved road in the wilderness, all to ourselves

Hot Well Dunes

We continued our ride for a total of 90 miles! We went to the grocery store to prepare for the next couple days. We then proceeded to our destination in Solomon outside of Safford to stay with a host. Our host fed us an amazing barbeque chicken dinner and showed us how scorpions in his backyard light up with a blacklight flashlight. Far out.

Just another day back on the road. We rested up and left the next morning after a nice breakfast with our warmshowers’ host’s parents. We pedaled away next to newly planted cotton fields with GPS guided equipment sowing the fields.

Cotton field



2 Responses to “Chiricahua National Monument to Safford, AZ”

  1. I love you guys! and your adventures! I’m loving the wildlife pics and landscape pics. Stay strong and keep flexible! And enjoy the Tao!

  1. 1 Travel. « SouthwestDesertLover

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