Friday, May 13, 2011

Three Mountains, Two Days: Day 2

Mike likes to think us Overlanders and can't stand to stay in one spot too long. We were only about one hour from the Chiricahua National Monument, so why not. Heading south from Willcox, the drive was kinda boring. Vast ranch land in the middle of nowhere. I can't imagine needing to run to the store for something, it would take all day. But at the same time, I was slightly envious of the solitude and peace a ranch must provide: a simpler life.

Having left Mount Graham around 8AM, we were in the Chiricahua's by mid morning. We've used our National Parks Pass more in the last two weeks than we have since we bought it last May. The drive up the mountain was much shorter, but proved beautiful in a different way. Mount Graham offered huge pines, vast views and small areas of water. The Chiricahua's are a geologists wet dream. Ancient tectonic activity, and volcanoes have filled the area with spires. 

We meandered up to the top. Massai Point provided a view of the spires and the valley below. In the picture below, you can see a small mountain. Harrison Mountain was named for the family of settlers who was slaughtered by Indians. Their youngest daughter was found living in an Apache community in Mexico and relayed the story of her parents unfortunate demise. Their bones were found and laid to rest.

We were fascinated by the red limbed flora. Red limbs and bright green leaves. Quite pretty.

 More Massai Point:

Here on Day 2, I remembered that I could take panoramic pictures with my iPhone. And here I am closer to the edge than my 'terrified of heights' husband.

Dogs aren't allowed at these points, so they were in the air conditioned truck waiting. We headed back down to the visitors center to have a small picnic of bread, cheese and salami. We found a trail that we could bring the dogs down. 80 degrees felt downright balmy compared to yesterday. Most of the trail was shaded though.

The trail led us to the Far Away Ranch. It was a neat little ranch established in the late 1800's. We were alone, so we off-leashed the dogs and let them roam. They meandered from shade to shade.

Water Break!!!

Our little tourists. They wandered up the staircase on their own to check it out.

Hey, I take every chance I get to take a good picture of the two of them, most of the time Elly is looking off somewhere, distracted.

After our small hike, they passed out in the truck. Our day was barely over though, onward to Mount Lemon! Of course traffic was a pain on I-10 due to the ever present roll over accident. A short detour down a dirt road to Benson, then westward to Tucson.

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