My husband and I left the cold rain of Oregon on Jan. 10 for a week-long getaway in Southern Arizona, the land of the saguaro cactus. For me, a New Year’s trip is a welcome change from the winter doldrums and a way to reset for the coming year.
High on our list to see was Chiricahua National Monument, an often overlooked gem tucked away in the SE part of the state in the Chiricahua mountains. This was the land of Cochise and Geronimo, the homeland of the Chiricahua Apache before they were killed or displaced by white invaders. The word Chiricahua in Apache means stand-up rocks. In the park are thousands of pinnacles made up of layers of volcanic deposits of rhyolite that have been sculpted by wind and weather. It’s a forest of rocks, a wonderland that we hiked through on the Echo Canyon trail from Massai Point. We need to go back!
Another delight we found was Madera Canyon National Recreation Area nestled in the Santa Rita Mountains, not far from Green Valley, south of Tucson where we were staying. This is a premier birding area where you may see 250 species of birds, including. wild turkeys, 15 species of hummingbirds, elf owls, Mexican jays, and if you are lucky an elegant trogon. We were not lucky in this regard BUT we did get up close to a coatimundi.Continue reading “Exploring Hidden Arizona”