Chiricahua National Mounment March 14, 2019
EJ had been researching things to go see while we waited for Escapades to start. She found that the Chiricahua National Monument was only about 50 miles away. So a ”Road Trip” is in order.
There is still snow on the mountains, so we bring along appropriate clothing.
Along the way we pass farms and such. Gorgeous view with the mountains as a backdrop.
At the Chiricahua Visitors center we encounter a troop of older folks that don’t seem to be very well organized. They are slowly meandering around, oblivious to the existence of others, trying to decide who is riding with whom when I overhear one of them saying they didn’t have enough gas to drive to the top of the park AND make it back where they came from. We leave the discussion to go inside and enjoy the displays. When we come back out, all the cars are gone. I wonder if we’ll encounter them again on the way up to the top.
We stop for lunch at one of the parking lots on the way up and are entertained by lots of Mexican Jays. They act like they haven’t eaten in days as they keep an eye out for dropped morsels from our meal.
Then it’s off to see what we came for. Bryce Canyon is known for it’s Hoodoos and rock formations but it is so packed with people it is difficult to enjoy. While Chiricahua is not as spectacular, it still has amazing colors and formations (and hardly any people, but don’t tell anyone).
On our outing today we stopped to investigate a cackling noise we had heard from the Elks Lodge in Willcox. I was pretty sure I knew what it was, but I wanted to take EJ to the source as she enjoys natures creatures. I apologize for the fuzzy pictures, but my camera was at max zoom and I didn’t bring a tripod.
That’s right, they are Sandhill Cranes. We never expected to see them here in the desert. This area is called the Willcox Playa. It is a “dry lake”, the prehistoric Lake Chochise. This is the site of a former Bombing Range, now owned by the Department of Defense and administered by the US Army Corp of Engineers. It is also home to 6,000 to 8,000 Sandhill Cranes that use it as a roosting habitat.
Our time here at Willcox, AZ has come to an end. Now we head to Tucson to participate in the gathering of Escapees from all over the country at the Pima County Fairgrounds. Our route takes us through Las Cruces where RoadsideAmerica.com tells us the worlds largest chili pepper resides.