In early spring of 2007 I decided to quit my job, sell my house along with nearly everything else that I owned, and to live out of my car while traveling the country. These are my stories (and pictures) of life on the road.

Monday, February 12, 2007

2 weeks in AZ - Part 2

After Chaco canyon it was time to head down into Arizona and to the Chiricahua Mountains (SE part of the state). I first went there last year when I took a short visit to see my friend Mark in Tucson. It's a gorgeous place and I wanted to get back there to spend some more time and do some camping. One of the “sky islands“, name that because of the way these mountain ranges seem to just rise op out of the desert. Although it's very far south (very close to Mexico) the elevation is quite high making it quite cool and more “vegetated“ then you'd expect. The ranger station is somewhere around 4500 feet if I remember right and the tallest peak (sugarloaf) is somewhere around 8500 feet.

I got there mid-afternoon and set up camp in the camp ground. After that I just hung out and relaxed. After 4 or 5 days on the road stuff wasn't quite so organized so I took a chance to tidy up a little (those of you who've seen my house are laughing at the thought). Later in the afternoon I did drive the road up to Masai point though and I was rewarded with this view part way up

I cooked something to eat and a little before sunset decided to hike up the top of Sugarloaf mountain for a view of the sunset. There had been quite a few people out during the day but now that the sun was close to setting there wasn't a soul to be seen anywhere; they were missing out on the best time of day. I got to the top of the mountain about 30 minutes before sunset and just sat up there and enjoyed the view (and tried to stay out of the howling wind). Here are a couple pics from the top-

And my waiting was well rewarded with a beautiful sunset over the desert-

By the time I got off the mountain it was well after dark and I was still alone at the top of the road. I think the stars were brighter then I'd ever seen them but I was tired and wanted to go to bed for the night. I figured I'd come back up the next night for some star gazing and to maybe try some star trail shots. Unfortunately when I awoke the next morning I saw the only sunlight there would be for the whole day, an hour or so after sunrise it disappeared and wasn't to be seen again. Once again no one was out for the nicest time of the day. It made for some dramatic overlooks though, here's a view from Masai point just after sunrise-

The overcast weather was very comfortable for hiking and made for some nice views, but taking pictures was a little difficult with the flat lighting and white sky and things of course didn't turn out quite as grand as they'd looked, but there were still some decent shots to share.

The heart of rocks-

And some of the local flora (my dog would be in severe pain if I would have brought him)-

Hey look! More proof I was there!!

Yeah, that's right....I'm really that badass

I hiked about 10 miles that day and by the time I got done in the early afternoon it was starting to rain. I drove around a little and stayed in my car most of the afternoon reading and waiting for the rain to quit (it's the dry season in the desert after all, how long could it last?). By dinner time it was apparent it wasn't going to let up so I set up a tarp over the picnic table in my campsite and cooked a meal before doing some more reading and going to bed. The next morning it was still raining as I packed up my campsite. I wanted to get in one more hike before leaving for Tucson and after I made some pancakes the weather seemed to be breaking. I went for a hike and it just rained a little on and off. The hike was through one of the more wooded parts of the park (natural bridge trail) and the smell of the wet woods/desert was fantastic.

A funny thing happened on the way to Tucson

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You've reached the end of the page but that's not the end of the stories. If you want to read more (and who wouldn't!?) then click on the archive links to the right hand side of the page. They're listed by month; the adventure starts in May.

The February archives aren't actually from this trip but are previous adventures I've had, which are worth reading as well.