Friday, May 15, 2015

2015 Tucson: Chiricahua National Monument (5/15/2015)

Friday, May 15, 2015 (continued)
We made our way from Bisbee to US Route 191 and headed north, taking a right on AZ-181 to the Chiricahua National Monument, nicknamed a Wonderland of Rocks. Since we weren't able to include Utah on this trip, this was the closest we could come to that state's national parks.
Chiricahua National Monument was carved by nature into pinnacles or hoodoos, natural bridges, balancing boulders, and soaring spires with rhyolite badlands.
Erickson Pioneer Cemetery of Swedish immigrants
who established a homestead here in 1888
The Visitor Center was closed when we arrived, so we continued on the Bonita Canyon Scenic Drive.
First view or rock formations
Looking for a scenic pullout, we accidentally drove into and through the Bonita Canyon campground.
First stop, the Organ Pipe Formation.
Organ Pipe Formation
Double-deck balanced rock
Green-tinged rocks

Next stop: Sea Captain
Next stop: China Boy
The dry Bonita Creek
Next stop: Seabed evidence
Looking back out of the park
We reached the dead end of Massai Point Lookout.
Pinnacles in a rhyolite canyon
Exhibit building (KAH)
Next we took a side road to the Echo canyon Trailhead to hike to the Grottoes. We did not tarry on the rocky twisting and hilly path, but were amazed to see a lone young woman running on the trail.
Rock formations
Sugarloaf Mountain (topped by a lookout cabin)
More pinnacles and evidence of fire
A balanced rock appears to loom over the trail
Another view of that looming rock
Green lichen
Lichen balanced rock
Keystone arch
Varied colors of lichen
Karen attempts to repair a broken wall
Balanced fist
Looking down through a crevice
Towering rocks
Bonsai tree
Vertical balanced rock and Chiricahua Mountains
Rock stopper
Profile rock
Grottoes (KAH)
Grottoed rocks
Karen in a cutout
Grottoes (KAH)
Window (KAH)
Last look at the pinnacles
The rock on the left appears to balance on a point
Rock ready to slide?
We made it back to the car before we lost daylight! Now for the long drive back to Tucson.
Storm clouds
All day we had been skirting storm clouds, and we managed to avoid any rain.
We drove about 50 miles up AZ-186, passing only three cars going the opposite direction. We stopped in Wilcox for a quick (not!) dinner at Pizza Hut, before catching I-10 into Tucson. In Wilcox we missed a turn due to looking for restaurants, and I suddenly noted the loss of route signs.
The 60% chance of rain today came in the middle of the night.

Next: Sentinel Peak.

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