Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Weekend in Chiricahua, Part 2: Hiking in Chiricahua

Saturday, August 16, 2014

It was a very pleasant night to camp, besides being in a National Monument with many other groups camping, it wasn't too loud and we felt rested enough to begin the day with hiking!

It was cloudy around 7 that morning as we drove the trailhead, but it didn't rain at all. The rain from the day before had helped to cool down the area as well. We were the first ones packed and out of the camping area, and off to take on the trails.

There are so many trails to enjoy, but we only had until 2 in the afternoon at the latest before we had to be at our next destination. We chose to do a 3 mile loop hike, Echo Canyon Trail, so that we could enjoy it without rushing, and if we finished early enough we would go on another hike. Ideally, we would have loved to go on the 10 mile hike, but it wasn't until later that we heard about the shuttle that would have made that a little more possible. :)

Here comes the sun! Now, get ready to see the beauty that is within the Chiricahua National Monument:

Tada! This was just one of our very first peaks of the beautiful canyon. If you click on the picture, it should enlarge for you!

No other hikers on the trail to take pictures for us? No problem! I love getting creative with auto timer on my camera. 

Us again - I was very energetic despite a lack of sleep, and that was not because of any sort of caffeine! 

It was gorgeous and perfectly quiet out there. We were literally the only ones on the trails until around 9…at least 2 hours after we started.

The trail, wrapping around rocks and starting to descend into the canyon

The mountain behind us is Sugarloaf Mountain. You'll see it pop up a lot in these pictures...

…Like here! :)

Fist pump!

Looking into the canyon as we are going deeper in. Here are more pictures showing just how big and scenic this place is!

Sugarloaf Mountain again…I kept running off on these bunny trails to get different views. Curtis looked at the map at this point and noticed that we weren't even a half mile in yet. It didn't matter though, we still had plenty of time and we were enjoying every aspect of the trails we could take!

Even though it had poured rain the day before, the trails were all fine and easy to walk on. We hadn't done many big hikes in a while, so it really felt great to be getting back into shape here.

The Grottos! See Curtis up inside this one? We had fun exploring these!

On the inside, looking up

Curtis at the top!

Now we're looking down on Curtis. :)

Hey, it was easier walking up than walking down!

Back outside - the sun was getting higher, and the colors were changing, making the hike even more interesting!

The great Sasquatch in his natural habitat. :)

Can't get over these views!

Walking through very wide "slot canyons" - almost at the bottom of Echo Canyon

Having fun with auto timer, and the fact that we're the only ones out here. ;)

And just like that, we're at the bottom, and the scenery totally changes! We could hear a stream nearby, and everything was so lush and beautiful. Those tall, fern-looking plants from the ground smelled really weird though!

We found the stream! Even with the recent rainfall, everything was perfectly maintained and passable. It's a good thing we didn't do any hiking the afternoon before though!

Looking back up - Not sure how the colors in this panorama turned out so differently, but ignore that and focus on the splendor of these cliffs. :)

More green! I'm so glad we came during this season and were able to see such vivid colors.

Looking up again...

Here, we begin our ascent again of the canyon, on the second half of the loop. It was starting to warm up and feel a little humid, but this half of the trail was much more shaded by trees still making it a pleasant hike.

My fearless leader. :)

Flowers along the trail

One big boulder happened to have this really unique texture. We aren't sure what it was!

The bolder, compared to the gravel of the trail.

Another reason why I'm glad we came during this season - clouds during monsoon season are magnificent! 

We arrived back at our truck around 9:45. We decided we had time for another hike, so we chose to hike up Sugarloaf mountain. 

Trailhead, looking up! The trail was only 1.5 miles round trip I believe, and really wasn't too strenuous. It also happened to go mostly along the West side, so we were basically in the shade the whole way up!


Looking up at the cliffs, enjoying the shade!

It was pretty green the whole way up as well. It really didn't take long at all to reach the top.

Almost there - Panorama facing South I believe.

We did it!

Curtis wishes he could get in to the little shack…it was all locked up. :(

More panoramas looking down - you can see the road that runs through the whole park.

Us! And that was our time in the Chiricahua's! It was such a great visit, and we'd love to go back again if we had a chance.

 Up next: On our way home, we stopped and visited Fort Bowie - the story and pictures are coming soon. :)

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