Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chiricahua Mountains

In a previous posting I mentioned that our next stop would be in Arizona. I was wrong, we are still in New Mexico- northern part of its bootheel. Yesterday we drove, in our Fit, southwest into Arizona, the destination of which was not clear in my mind. We drove what seemed like for hours, first passing by fields of cotton and then milo. After that came the desert, with miles of sand and scrub surrounding us. I fell asleep, and when I woke up I happened to see the name of a road as we passed by it: "Faranuf". It gave me an idea. I said, "John, we have gone far enough". We passed by the Chiricahua Desert Museum, John asked if I wanted to stop there. It did not sound all that interesting to me, so we drove into a small town which had a smattering of homes, boarded up stores and an old mission. No bathroom facilities. Suddenly stopping at the museum sounded like a great idea! We drove back to the museum and paid a small admission price. It had beautiful bathroom facilities and a great museum/art gallery. In the museum is a display of 18 live rattlesnakes. As I stood in front of one of their cages, I heard the unmistakable sound of a rattler. In front of me was a prairie rattlesnake, eying me and shaking his tail. His little black forked tongue waved in and out of his mouth. He totally fascinated me, fortunately there was a glass wall between us. The museum has an interesting desert garden outside with the sculpture of a rattlesnake tail at the entrance.
From the museum we drove into Cave Creek Canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains. Suddenly we had left flat desert land and were surrounded by beautiful forests of cottonwood and sycamore trees.
Years ago volcanic eruptions left the area covered with white-hot ash which fused and cooled into layers of rock which now make up the walls of the canyon. Forces of erosion sculpted the rocks into a wide variety of rock formations. Every bend in the road, on our drive through the canyon, afforded us a different stunning  vista of towering rocks and trees. I wished that our home was with us so we could spend the night in this area.
We got out of the car and took a hike into the woods of the canyon to see one particular vista. Many birds were flitting about and I also heard the activities of woodpecker. I was able to spot him with my binoculars, it was a hairy woodpecker. Speaking of birds, on our way home I saw a road with the name of "Wandervogel". That certainly is John and I, wandering birds! And many times our wanderings bring pleasant surprises!

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