A group of us gals like to go camping regularly. This time we went down in the far Southeastern corner of the state to the Chiricahua National monument. Once known as the Wonderland of rocks, there are some amazing rhyolite hoodoos here. Don't you like to say all these words? Try spelling them!
Victoria was our gracious driver through the park. As she said, photos just don't do it justice. It's really a cool place. We went for a hike to the grotto's and then they went on down to Echo Canyon while me and my problem knees went back up to the car.
There is a lot of really pretty colored lichen on the rocks.
Dericka trying to keep the rock from falling over.
Lynnora in the Grottoes
It is so far from any city of any size that it is a dark sky park and the stars are amazing. On the last night Dericka and I went up to the mountain and spend about an hour just looking at the Milky Way and all the stars. So beautiful. And to think they are there all the time, we just can't see them in the city.
This formation is called Organ Pipe. We saw quite a few animals. Some skunks paid us a visit every night. They would come and check the campsite for food for about 15 to 20 minutes. We knew to keep all our food put away so they didn't stick around too long. We knew to just give them space and wait. We were pretty proud of ourselves for not panicking too much. We also saw lots of Mexican blue jays, deer, a juvenile bobcat, a grey fox. I wanted to see a coatamundi as they are plentiful here, but no such luck. I heard a ranger had seen a family of 14 earlier in the day. No bears or mountain lions were seen although they live here too.
This bird is called Victoria Russell and she nests in Oak trees.
We have become pretty accomplished camp cooks and we ate very well. These are the veggies that went under the chicken that I roasted in the Dutch oven. It turned out great! I also made some chimchurri bread in another Dutch oven to go with it. Lynnora made squash soup with meat loaf sandwiches and pumpkin chili with pumpkin bread. I made pork skewers with grilled veggies the first night. Dericka made some campfire hash for breakfast. The last night, it was just Dericka and I and we decided to skip cooking and had chips and salsa for dinner with s'mores for dessert.
Every evening at sunset, the cliffs opposite our campsite glowed orange. This photo didn't capture the color well.
Dericka and I went on the ranger led tour of the Faraway ranch house the last day. It was really interesting and covered the history of the area from the Apaches to the Buffalo soldiers to the Erickson and Riggs families. The last two families were truly responsible for protecting and promoting the area.
The home was only ever lived in by the Ericson's and their married Daughter,Lillian Riggs. The forest service was lucky to get the home and all the original contents. The family boarded guests and let them on horseback tours up into the canyon.
The Buffalo soldiers who were stationed in the canyon, were there to help capture Cochise and other Chiricahua Apaches. They built a monument to President Garfield and inscribed all their names on the stones that held up the monument. Later the monument fell into disrepair and the family used it to build a fireplace.
In the middle of nowhere, they had a swimming pool in the 1930's and an 80 foot hand dug well.
Early guests. I think they look pretty good considering they would have had to do a considerable horseback ride to get there. When it was dedicated as a national monument in 1934, 8000 people attended atop Massai mountain look out. I have no idea how they would have gotten that many people up there.
It's a great place!