Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chiricahua National Monument

Our plans were to move on to Tucson. However, we decided that we wanted to see more of the unusual beauty of the Chiricahua Mountains, so instead moved to Wilcox, Arizona. Cave Creek Canyon, as well as the Chiricahua National Monument, are all located within the Coronado National Forest- which covers 1.78 million acres in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. Our goal was to drive the scenic canyon road through the park today. Unfortunately that was not to be as a forest fire happened in the canyon last June. The road is still closed because repairs of the guard rails are not completed as yet. We were informed, however, that we could park in a campground near the road closure and walk to some of the rock formations. We first had a picnic lunch in the campground. While eating lunch we were treated to the sight of several acorn woodpeckers as well as the Mexican jay. By the way, I am not all that well informed on the different kinds of birds out there, quite often when we get into a  park I first check at the visitor's center for a listing of the local birds. Today being that well informed certainly paid off! Now back to the rock the rocks in my previous posting, the formations in this park are volcanic bedrock.  And,
as the rocks in Cave Creek Canyon, layers of them here have been uplifted, shattered and cracked over millions of years. Erosion by wind and water has also influenced the sculpting of the walls of the canyon.
Below is a picture of what is called the organ pipe formations, the first set of rocks which we saw.
It was a short walk to that part of the canyon so we continued further up the road. Big boulders are also on the ground as well as hanging precariously over the road.
The formations are generally in the shape of columns or pinnacles, and many, as shown above and below, are balancing. They certainly gave me cause to wonder about how long they have been hanging, and at what point or when will they fall? Such thoughts crossed my mind when a small shower of stones came off the hillside as we walked by!  Irregardless, it was a fascinating, beautiful walk that we had in the canyon.

No comments:

Post a Comment