Saturday, May 08, 2010

Unfinished Business at Chiricahua

Just in case you might not have noticed, I was fascinated with Chiricahua National Monument and its myriad stone formations. Having spent four days there in mid-March and going away without having attempted the longer trails, I “had” to return to complete them. Besides, it really is a nice place, one of my favorites thus far.

Except for that first day, the weather for the remainder of my second stay at Chiricahua couldn't have been better. Daytime temperatures were in the mid-70s and at night it didn't fall below 40. I had blue skies and sunshine for the next five days (April 24th through the 28th).

The Natural Bridge Trail, is 2.4 miles long. You return on the same trail you went out on, thus the round-trip is 4.8 miles. It takes you up through a canyon, down the other side, and around to another canyon. It is an up-and-down trail, relatively easy walking, with sand and rocks, but some level stretches also.

When you get into the other canyon you are taken through a forest of pine trees and then up a short distance on the canyon walls. The destination, the Natural Bridge, is somewhat underwhelming. It is quite a ways away across the canyon. Still, it is quite a nice hike. You get some good views of the desert floor below and other mountains in the distance as well as of many weird stone formations and the occasional desert flower.

These fellas greeted me as I walked to the trailhead of the Natural Bridge Trail. They really weren't all that friendly though, they didn't say a word as I walked by, just glared silently!

The desert and another range of mountains off in the distance. The trail went through the forest of trees to the left after descending into a second canyon.

Can you see the Natural Bridge? It's there in the middle, right below those clouds. Really.

Okay, here's a close-up view... it is still underwhelming.

Beautiful Cactus Flowers. The only ones I saw on the trail (or anywhere else in the park for that matter).

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