Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Chiricahua National Monument, AZ
We are spending a couple nights at Fort Willcox RV Park, a Passport America park off I-10 in Willcox. It’s a good place to stay for a day trip to Chiricahua National Monument, about 35 miies southeast of here. Chiricahua is a beautiful, remote national monument with only about 60,000 visitors a year. There is a pretty campground, but they limit RV length to 29’ due to a big dip in the road. When we drove through it didn’t look like there were more than a couple sites that would even fit a 29’ RV. It looked much more suitable for van and truck campers or tents.
We drove the eight mile scenic drive and stopped at Massai Point at 6,900 ft for lunch and a hike recommended by the ranger.
The monument is made up of formations created by a volcanic eruption that occurred roughly 27 million years ago.The huge rock pinnacles and hoodoos reminded us of Bryce Canyon with gray instead of red rock. We haven’t seen anything like this in awhile, and we were in awe as we hiked the 4 mile Echo Canyon Loop.
Many of the rocks are covered with green lichen.
Along the way we came to the Grottoes, a cave-like area of rocks.
We had a few wildlife encounters. These Mexican jays were hanging around the water fountain at the Visitor Center, and around our picnic table. Jim “accidently” dropped a piece of potato chip and carrot, and you can guess that the jay picked the junk food and ignored the carrot.
We also saw a beautiful orange, black, and white ringed snake which we think was an Arizona king snake, and a couple of wild turkeys. Unfortunately they dldn’t hang around long enough for Jim to get a picture. This is a great park with spectacular scenery and few people. It’s well worth the drive to see.