Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Into the Chiricahua Mountains

(Rodeo, NM) Tuesday we were in the jeep with the pups by 9:15, headed south then west from Rusty’s RV Ranch in to the Chiricahua Mountains.

Most of the amazing scenery we drove through was part of the Coronado National Forest.

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We hiked the short trail to Vista Point where we could get some of the best views.

We thought it was funny that along the roads there would be signs that said things like ‘congested area do not stop along road’ when we saw no one. It was like we had this majestic part of the universe all to ourselves. We drove really slow and left the windows down even though the temperatures were only in the upper 40’s.

Sometimes we would just stop and listen….not a human sound, only the breeze and the birds.

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I should have known, when they told Ken at the park office that he could probably do the dirt mountain roads usually impassable in winter. I think Ken took that as a challenge!

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We were soon heading higher and higher up the 8200 foot peak. Although there was snow cover, the streams were still flowing since the temps were well above freezing and the sky was bright and clear.

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The sights from the peak were awesome, and felt rather strange, looking across a desert basin while sitting amidst all this snow.

Ken and I agreed that in our travels, there has been no other location any more beautiful to us than this part of the country. With the contrasts of snow and sand, the lack of people, I’m not sure we could have picked a better time to visit. But, I certainly wouldn’t advise going into these back roads without a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

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During our 4 wheeling adventure we saw more animals than humans. These ladies seems to be enjoying lunch along the roadside and didn’t seem to be to worried about a few silly humans in their habitat.

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It was shortly after I took the picture on the left that I “cried uncle”. With no cell service and deeper and deeper snow with steep drop offs, I really wasn’t interested anymore in proving we could make it to the peak. Ken was rather frustrated with me because we were very close at that point but I’m not any fun in ‘freak out’ mode.

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We passed this very fitting sign as we came back down the mountain. Actually the town of Paradise, AZ (yes, you cross the state border in the mountains) is actually a ghost town, once a booming mining town with as many as 16 saloons, that now has only about a dozen residents.

We had to cross several streams on the way out. Ken got out of the jeep on this one to be sure there were no surprising holes that could hang us up.

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Sometimes there are signs that just seem SO unnecessary!!

We had planned to stop in Portal for the lunch at the cafe since we’d been told they had great meals but they aren’t open on Mon, Tues, Wed. I have to wonder if they will be open in the future since there is a ‘For Sale’ sign in front of the business.

Instead we decided to drive in to the tiny little town of Rodeo and have a very late lunch at the Rodeo Grocery and Cafe. They have breakfast all day along with a large selection of mexican dishes and sandwiches. Ken and I shared a Santa Fe Melt, an enchilada and an order of sweet potato fries. The food was good and it was obvious this is the daytime hang out for the tiny population so it was interesting just to take our time and take it all in.

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When we got back to the rig we set up our lawn chairs and soaked in some sun while Ken used the ‘ferminator’ to clean up the dogs a bit.

Because the night sky is so huge and bright here, we downloaded Google Sky to our android phones and are going to go out now to use it to see if we can pick out some of the different stars, planets and constellations.

And so, I leave with with yet another beautiful sunset over the Chiricahua mountains.

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Hugs, C

1 comment:

mike said...

Thanx guys we are starting to fly.
Cheryl mike