Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument

Located in a remote spot in southeastern Arizona, Chiricahua National Monument is a gem most people have never heard of. But a stop at this monument, which was established in 1924, is well worth the time and effort required to get here. The park is called a sky island because it is an isolated mountain range that seems to mysteriously arise from the surrounding grasslands. At its highest point, the sky island rises to 9,763 feet.

Rock Pinnacles in Chiricahua

Rock Pinnacles in Chiricahua

A wonderful part of the park is seen when you follow a winding, mountain road into the heart of the park. Rock pinnacles loom over the road and stretch for miles in every direction. Hiking in the wilderness areas which comprise 80% of the park is a rather solitary experience.

Lime Green Lichen

Lime Green Lichen

Lichens decorate the rocks and add a yellow, white, or even a lime green sheen to the rock surfaces.

The park is especially noteworthy in that four ecosystems meet in this range.  There are the northern slopes seen in the first photograph which are covered with Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine, most typically found in the Rocky Mountains.  If you look to the southern slopes, the second photo, you will see Apache pine and Mexican pinyons which are common in the Sierra Madre range in nearby Mexico.  Yuccas from the Chihuahuan Desert meet with the prickly pear cactus of the Sonoran Desert. In all, there are over 1,200 species of plants documented in less than 12,ooo acres of land.

And to make things even better, the campground is nestled in a pine forest, with roomy sites, and staffed with friendly rangers. It all makes the experience just about perfect.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.

Comments

  1. That is such beautiful landscape. What a gem. These photos are wonderful. What a treat.

  2. makes me want to take a trip out there. Very nice post

  3. the great outdoors! I love love love that 1st shot!

  4. Great photos of a place I love. We have visited it and one year spent a week there. It is really an amazing place.

  5. I really like the first photo! What a beautiful place and I bet was a lot of fun to photograph. 🙂

  6. It all looks so beautiful, Bo. It’s another place to add to my growing list of places to visit.

  7. Very dramatic. You seemed to have hit at the perfect time.

  8. I lichen that! This is a special place. And you have picked a perfect time to visit.

  9. Breath-taking. The sky islands are a well known stop for migrating animals–not just birds. Well-worth the trip, indeed.

  10. i love the first picture! added to the new places we must now visit. 😀

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