Thursday, March 12, 2009


Weatherman says we're going to be up in the 80's again before too long so figured we'd better get a few more good day trips & hikes under our belts before it gets too hot. Had heard there were some pretty spectacular views from Coronado Peak at the Coronado National Memorial in the southernmost part of the Huachuca Mountains. SAN PEDRO VALLEY BELOW

Fired up the car & headed southwest about 9:30. Rolled up & out of the Sulphur Springs Valley, over the Mule Mountains, through Bisbee & down into the San Pedro Valley on the other side. Ahead of us in the morning sun lay the mighty Huachuca Mountain Range. We were surprised at how green & full the cottonwood trees along the San Pedro River looked. Just last week we had crossed the San Pedro west of Tombstone & they were still stark & bare of leaves. Large puffy white clouds cast moving shadow patterns on the mountains as we drew closer. Morning is my favorite time of day because it is when I have the most energy. I like to do the day trips or the hiking in the cooler morning hours, cruise through the afternoons, & crash onto my bed in a crumpled heap about mid evening. How can ya tell I'm over 64 huh. LOOKING SOUTHWEST FROM CORONADO PEAK

We always like to stop at visitor centers first when visiting parks because they have maps & advice on where to go & what to see. Talked to a park ranger outside for awhile & he was full of ideas for us about the surrounding area. Told us where to find Fort Rucker's ruins so looks like we'll be heading back to Rucker Canyon again shortly. That's the road where we picked up about 45 pounds of dust inside the car & unfortunately, inside my cameras too.

The drive from the visitor's center up to the parking lot at Coronado Peak is a graveled road with twisting winding switchbacks wide enough for only one vehicle in many spots. It's not a drive you want to make in a hurry. There are no guardrails & the drop offs are sudden & dramatic. Kelly refused to look over the edge as we made our way up. Big parking lot at the top as the road continues on by & down the other side of the mountain into Mexico. The views were spectacular from the parking lot & we noticed a trail heading higher in the direction of a peak to the south. This was Coronado Peak. Kelly went about half way & I continued on up to the peak despite an increasing pain the last few days in my right hip. Pain doesn't count when your doing something you really enjoy though.


The view from the peak was totally awesome & I was so happy that there were no people there to destroy the quiet tranquility of the moment. The view into Mexico extended maybe a hundred miles. I could see the wall between Mexico & the United States extending from the foot of the mountain east to the horizon over near Bisbee. To the west was a vast flat plain ending in mountain ranges in all directions. Same thing looking south into the heart of Mexico. Once again as I stood there in the morning sun with the big fluffy white clouds overhead & the blue hazy mountains on the horizon I thought to myself how lucky I was to be there seeing all this beauty before me. There were no human sounds up there, just the wind in the grasses & the tiny flitting birds in the cactus. But my time alone on the peak was precious as I scurried around taking photos here & there. I knew I didn't have much time because I could already hear the clatter & clamor of people approaching on the trail below. Nothing like a bunch of chattering people to destroy one's quiet thoughts & reflections. I bid a final adieu to a place I will not likely see again & began the descent down the scenic stone step pathway, all the time snapping pictures to my left & right of the valleys & mountains on both sides of the ridge. The group of people coming up the trail were all busy twittering away as they went by & I was reminded once again of why I avoid groups of people. There is a feeling of peace to be had in the outdoors but it's not possible to attain when surrounded with domestic blusterings of politics, economic issues, health concerns, bitching & complaining & just downright dumb stuff. Heavens knows I can do all that by myself without having to have people around to add more bull to my own blusters!! LOOKING SOUTH INTO THE HEART OF MEXICO

Kelly was seated on a bench in the parking lot enjoying the views when I got back. We rustled up the binoculars & had us a good look down into the sweeping countryside of Mexico far below to the southwest. Chatted with a fellow from Michigan & watched a young border patrol officer scanning the roads below with his binoculars as well. This is a very busy area with a lot of illegal aliens moving across the border below. THE HUACHUCA MOUNTAIN RANGELOOKING EAST TO BISBEE & THE DISTANT MULE MOUNTAINS ON THE LEFT HORIZON

The drive down the mountain was just as hairy as the drive up but before long we were out of the mountains & heading back across the San Pedro Valley for the little Alpine town of Bisbee. First stop was Jimmy's Hot Dog Company & then across the road for groceries at Safeway. Grabbed a cup of expensive burnt tasting coffee at Charbucks again & then it was off to the Bisbee Library to return some DVD's & pick up a few more. We were back to the ranch by 3 & cruised through the rest of the afternoon rather quietly. Kelly got a campfire going later on & I slipped out to watch the full moon pull itself out of a heavy cloud bank over the Swisshelm Mountains. All our dogs are fine, the ranch animals are in good shape & aside from 7 donkey eggs to-day it was another fine day for the Bayfield Bunch.....................:)) THIS MORNINGS SETTING MOON OVER THE MULE MOUNTAINS


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