Sunday, May 27, 2007

"Best hike ever!"

Aslin's words. "You know I'm usually complaining by this far into a hike."

The rest of us confirm on both counts, Echo Canyon in the Chiricahua Mts is possibly the greatest day (morning) hike ever and she usually is complaining by the end of the second mile.

Before the hike details, you should know that we didn't make it out of Tucson with out one final visit with our mechanic, the moonlight voice of Liberty Radio. Marvel of the modern world, air conditioning, kept us cool the the Tucson city limit. I graciously thanked and declined the border patrol agent's (quicker to the scene than highway patrol) offer of water. Freedom fighter Mike was rock solid confident that the van wasn't actually overheating, that it was safe to drive into the shop. We were on the road again before my panic/despair mode even kicked in.

Eventually we made it to the campground- 24 sites in a wilderness area of 11,985 acres. Heading into Memorial Day Weekend, we failed our good intentions to arrive early, but still managed to find a beautiful (though excessively bug-filled) site.

From our base at Bonita Creek, dry except for a few hours a year, we hiked through the alligator junipers along a trail built by Franklin D. Roosevelt's Tree Army. The Civilian Conservation Corp's long abandon bake ovens stand alone at the edge of a meadow. Grateful for a distraction from blood hungry mosquitoes, we searched the tree canopy for the power-tool buzzing cicada. A mile away, at Faraway Ranch, we heard stories of Swedish immigrants and Buffalo soldiers.

The first sold fraudulent stories of battles with the Apache to guests looking for authentic an cowboy experience. The later, after securing watering holes from Apache who never attacked, built a 10-foot monument to President Garfield, who as a senator, worked to secure equal pay for African-American soldiers.

Reacquainted with our tent, we managed our earliest pack ever. Packed, fed and on the road to the trial head at 8:51.

Past the Sea Captain and China boy, Echo Canyon brings us up close and personal to formations whose names have not been published.

"It's like the rocks got too hot, they made bubbles and then, pop," Aslin.

Just past Ukiah's "pancakes,"

through the keyhole, the canyon floor comes into view.

Sure, it's called a "canyon" hike, but the view from Massai point doesn't predict the bird songs and the oak forcing it's way up from a boulder.

A friend suggested that the rock formations of the Chiricahua's rival those of the Grand Canyon. A don't have that point of comparison, but as Ukaih said, "amazingly beautious."


Anonymous said...

Hi Folks! Youu are seeing some utterly amazing geological features. Looking at the rock formations, thinking about a river bed that is dry but for a few hours a year....words defy me. Think of the vastness of time: centruies upon centuries of wind blowing sand and grit to form such iincredible shapes. I am so happy that you are doing this incredible journey.

owlhouse said...

No kidding- and to have the landscape change so dramatically in under 100 miles is astonishing. Not to mention all the natural and human history that accompanies the site-seeing.

Not far from here, beginning 1,100 years ago, the Jordona branch of the Mogollon culture created 5,000 petroglyphs.

And, in 1950 fire fighters rescued a bear cub, Smokey the Bear, from a 17,000 acre fire in the Capitan Mts.

Lots to see, do, hear, feel, learn and taste!

Ukiah said...

No, I said it was "Simply beautatious. Just spewing with marvelous prettiness"