Wednesday, February 18, 2009



Knee was feeling a bit better this morning so I was optimistic we could head out to do a little sightseeing to-day. Jeanie had recommended the Chiricahua National Monument as a good day trip so after clearing the idea with Big Chief Little Boss I threw the cameras into the car & we headed off to the place the Apache Indians called, Land of Standing Rocks. EASY TO SEE WHY THE APACHE INDIANS CALLED THIS, LAND OF STANDING ROCKS

Beautiful sunny morning as we headed north up the Sulphur Springs Valley. Scenic mountains on both sides reminded me once again how fortunate we are to be where we are. The thought also occurred to me that I was probably born in the wrong place 64 years ago. This land of mountains & deserts feels more like home to me than home does. HARRIS MOUNTAIN....SCENE OF AN APACHE MASSACRE

Took us a little more than an hour to reach the main gate of the Chiricahua National Monument at the foot of the legendary Chiricahua mountain range. (Chiricahua is pronounced...Chair-a-cowa)
The flatter valley scenery immediately began to change as we began the 8 mile climb on Bonita Canyon Drive to Massai Point at the summit. Oak, Pine, & Cypress trees lined the winding road. A stop at the visitor center along the way netted us a National Audubon Southwestern Field Guide. Next stop was a look at a campground in Bonita Canyon. No trailers over 26 feet & no RV's over 29 feet in this cozy little tree clustered campground though. It's open year round & has 24 sites. Continuing upwards we could see why the Apache Indians called this place, Land of Standing Rocks. Tall massive columns of rocks were visible through the trees towering hundreds of feet into the air on both sides of the roads. The rocks took on many shapes challenging the imagination as we climbed higher through Fir, Sycamore, & Juniper trees. A stop at Echo Canyon quickly had us scrambling into our coats. We were at the snow line at 6,780 feet & the warm temperatures of the valley floor had given way to a driving & frigid wind. My hat blew off 3 times in a row before I got myself smartened up & hooked it on my belt. A short walk along a snowy patch of trail for some pictures & then it was back into the warm car. The views from here were beautiful. Just up the road was the Sugarloaf Mountain view & trailhead at 6,840 feet. More pictures, more wind, & more cold temperatures. But, totally magnificent views. We could see clear across the valley to the Dragoon mountains to the west & Cochise's stronghold there. We'll be doing a day trip to that stronghold sometime in the next week or so. A short drive took us up the final half mile to the summit at Massai Point. We were now at the 6,870 foot level & the wind up here was doing every thing possible to blow us right off the top of the mountain & back out across the Sulphur Spring Valley about 10 miles to the west. Just taking photos in this wind presented some stability problems along the trail as the wind could suddenly whip through narrow rock openings & buffet an unsuspecting hiker. What a beautiful place this Chiricahua Monument is & what a beautiful land this is. And we've only seen a mere fraction of it. Just so much to see & do & so little time left to see & do it all.
We left the summit around 1:25 & headed back down to the mouth of Bonita Canyon where the Faraway Ranch is located. We knew a tour of the ranch house started at 2 & didn't want to miss it. There is quite a family history here. A workamping couple led the tour of the house for about 10 of us who had gathered there. This is a link to the Faraway Ranch It is also well worth noting that it was the Civilian Conservation Corp who constructed all the roads & trails in this National Park as well.

After stopping at the gravesites of the Faraway Ranch's Erickson's, we headed back down the valley to the ranch & our rig. We had lots of wagging tails when we got back. All & all, it was a great day & it just felt good to be out seeing something we had never seen before & doing something we both enjoy so much.................

1 comment:

  1. Looking at the pictures of the standing rocks suddenly puts it into perspective how the indians avoided the dragoons so easily.

    the hermit