Monday, February 3, 2014

Chiricahua National Monument

Time is running short for my brother's visit here in Tucson and I wanted to show him someplace that I think is very special.  Gerry and I have always enjoyed visiting the Chiricahua National Monument that is about 110 miles from our RV park.  Today was the chosen day for the trip.  With the cooler temps I wasn't so sure how cold it would be at the mountain top so we all carried jackets with us.  It got down to the high 30s while we were there and the car heater felt nice.

I took the long way to the monument and took them around some interesting country side down through Dragoon, AZ and then over to Sunsites, AZ and finally arriving at the park.

The monument is located approximately 36 miles southeast of Willcox, Arizona. Geologists believe that it preserves the remains of an immense volcanic eruption that shook the region some 27 million years ago. The thick white-hot ash spewed forth from the nearby Turkey Creek Caldera, cooled and hardened into rhyolite tuff, laying down almost two thousand feet of dark volcanic ash and pumice, highly siliceous in nature, which eventually eroded into the natural features visible that we see at the monument today.

There is an 8 mile drive from the visitors center to the top of the mountain and luckily the snow from Saturday had melted.  We took our time, stopped for a photograph about 15 times on the way up.  There were light snow patches on the top and it was very cold.   I used my Golden Age Passport to gain free entrance to the park.  It's one of the few really great bargains I have bought from the U.S. Goverment.

There are some spectacular rock formations along the drive to the top.  The main group of rocks is called the Organ Pipes.  They are huge columns of rocks that look like the one below.  Notice how part of the column has fallen and is laying against the next column.  I wonder how long it has been positioned this way.


Massai Point is the end of the park road and has some beautiful views from the top.  It was windy and cold there today and we didn't linger very long taking pictures.

View from the top of Massai Point looking west toward Benson, AZ.

 Yes, these rock columns are actually leaning to the right.  I don't think I would like to hang around them very long.

It was a little spooky sitting in the car with those two boulders right over our heads.  Either one of them would have crushed our car like a grape.  Time to move on.

 There were two groups of deer hanging around the entrance to the park.  One group was near the visitors center, while these were closer to the entrance of the park.

The road back to Willcox, AZ was without a vehicle in site for miles.  It sure is isolated out there and has a certain beauty to the aridness and vastness.

We took a quick tour of Willcox and saw the Rex Allen statue and Willcox Cowboy Hall of Fame.  Rex Allen was born and raised on a ranch about 40 miles from Willcox, AZ.  He had the distinction of starring in the last of the singing cowboys western movies in 1954.
Before we left Gerry had started some pork chops in the slow cooker.   When we returned, she whipped up some mashed potatoes and corn to go with them.  It was a delicious meal and much better than what we've been getting eating out lately.

That was our day, how was yours?

1 comment:

  1. I love the Chiricahuas. I think that is one of the prettiest places ever (Death Valley is number one for me). When we were there last year we got to see a whole bunch (herd, group, tribe?) of coati. That was definitely a highlight for me. Jim and I have been eating at home more and it really is a better than a lot of the food we've been paying big bucks for.