That’s where we’ve been for the last two days. Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona. We’ve hiked here before, but not camped. What a terrific experience. You have probably figured out by now that we like quiet, rustic campgrounds. This was right up our alley. Only thing missing was the ability to have a campfire, which has been a common theme in our three weeks on the road. Extreme fire danger has eliminated this from most of the campgrounds we’ve visited so far.Our Senior Pass let us camp here for $6/night. Tough to beat, no matter what kind of amenities you might seek. We chose to dive in frontwards instead of backing in, so that we could line up our door with the picnic table, and also to keep Jezzy from looking out onto the road too easily, as we knew she would be solo in the Fireball for most of the next day while we hiked. This plan worked out well.
The crazy spires of the Chiricahuas were formed by ash from the Turkey Creek Volcano millions of years ago (probably the same volcano responsible for City of Rocks SP, but I don’t know that for a fact). Wind and weather have formed hundreds of spires, pinnacles, and balanced rocks. Many have names, and we named many of our own. This one is Kissing Rock (not our name). As many of the other State and National Parks we’ve visited, we see the hand of the CCC in its creation. Trails were created, retaining walls erected, and signs posted that still do their job today.
It’s hard to visit any of these magnificent public parks without wising that we had a modern CCC today – the legacy of this program will be felt for decades to come. From where will our new parks and public works emerge? It’s difficult and painful to contemplate.
Chiricahua National Monument is an amazing place to hike, and we hiked til we could barely move one foot in front of the other anymore. Lucky for us, the Park does make it easy to maximize a good hiking effort.
The Bonita Springs Campground (our camp) is located near the base of the Canyon, about 1/3 mile from the Visitor’s Center. We were able to hop the morning shuttle, which picked us up along with four other campers, right at the campground. The shuttle takes youall the way to Echo Canyon, at the top of the Canyon. From there, you can then take a fairly easy meander down through the spires back to the Visitor’s Center. It’s 4.7 miles. Or, you can hike every blasted trail up there – winding up & down, back & forth, until you’ve reached the VC. Then, you can walk back to the Campground. Guess which we did? 10.25 miles. Wandering between and around amazing rocks, balancing in unbelievable formations. It was an unforgettable day – once again we felt like we were the only visitors in this fabulous park, passing only four other hikers (going up, when we were going down) all day.
We were well prepared for the day’s hike, with plenty of water, sandwiches and snacks. A map.
Enjoy the rest of the photos, not necessarily in the order in which we saw the sights. The Southwest is so very different than Michigan. We feel very fortunate to be able to visit these unique places. We’re also very grateful for the wisdom of Federal and State governments who have seen fit to protect these lands for enjoyment by the public for generations. It’s a great journey.