Interstate 10 seems to have a high wind warning in place every time we drive across southern Arizona and New Mexico. Fortunately, this time the wind was to our back. A huge dust storm from the south welcomed us as we arrived in Willcox and got settled before the highway was closed for a few hours due to the blowing dust. It seemed like the perfect day to stay inside and read.
The most noticeable natural features in the monument are the rock pinnacles that the monument was created to protect. Rising sometimes hundreds of feet into the air, many of these pinnacles are balancing on a small base, seemingly ready to topple over at any time. The Civilian Conservation Corps, during their occupation here in the 1930s, named many of the rock formations that can be seen today.
We had to drive from the highway for 35 miles to get to the park but it was well worth the effort. The Chiricahua campground was tight and no reservations were available. The campground in the town of Willcox worked out just fine. This was a quick stop for us but a good one.
The next day, we got up early for our hike. The temp was 46 degrees and windy. We had to adjust our layers of clothes a few times until it was just right. Good thing we keep plenty of clothes in the backseat of the truck for "just in case". We added gloves and headed down the trail. We were the only people on the trail for quite a while. I guess the other people waited until it warmed up before starting.
I am leery of trails that start with a steep downhill. You know when you are returning and tired that you must go up.
The Apaches considered this to be the land of the Standing Up Rocks. The formation of these rocks started with a volcanic eruption 27 million years ago. Cooling and uplifting created cracks and joints in the rocks. Ice and water erosion continues to enlarge the cracks as weaker material is washed away.
The hike was a great 6 miles out and back.
We continually noticed the hard work of the CCC to protect the land and provide good trails as we walked.
We were inspired as we turned around to go have our picnic.
We met a fun couple from Juneau, Alaska as we hiked. They are on the road for four months while their house is rented by legislative delegates while at Alaska's capitol.
I must say that once we returned that Subway sandwich tasted so good as we sat in the sunshine on a warm rock! It warmed up to 59 degrees. Perfect hiking weather.
I just missed this guy as I stepped over a rock!