Monday we drove 35 miles from Willcox to the Chiricahua National Monument. The roadside was carpeted with poppies.
We have been in southern Arizona since mid-October and we are used to the desert and the mountains of the desert. Were we ever surprised when we got to the monument! The rocks aren't the volcanic brown of most of those we have seen and we were surrounded by juniper, pine, oak and fir trees. The rocks are rhyolite--superheated ash particles from the Turkey Creek Volcano and melted together, forming layers of gray rock. It is called both an island in the sky and, in the words of the Apache, the Land of Standing Up Rocks. When the ranger in the visitor center suggested the Echo Canyon, Hailstone, Ed Riggs trails loop she said we would be up-close with the rocks. She was right.
Here you see the pine trees and standing up rocks.
And here we begin to get up close and personal.
Around every curve we saw more standing up rocks.
A short way down the train, we came to an area called the Grottoes. Here are two photos from that area.
The lichen on the rocks really is this green. In fact, it is described as neon green.
We saw piles of rock, narrow slots in the rock, and balanced rocks.
We were really glad the trail didn't lead through this slot.
How is this for a window with a view?
In places we had a great view over the surrounding, hazy landscape.
Here is another balanced rock.
I wish I could remember what this formation is called.
I was glad this rock didn't fall over on John.
Here is a final view of the trees that remind us of the Colorado mountains.