Road-tripping Arizona is a treat for the curious traveler. There are the Catholic missions (active and abandoned), caverns (wet and dry), cities, desert, canyons, amazing geology, and the influences of many cultures. Arriving in late May, we were treated with blossoms on many of the desert plants during our 9 day trek across the state.

Driving through southeast Arizona, leaving any hint of civilization behind, we drove for 2 hours before we saw the mountains of the Chiricahua forming in front of us. It’s quite evident why this part of Southern Arizona is called the sky islands. You’re driving through flat desert, and suddenly, mountains start to take shape in the distance. Islands in the Sky with so much to explore.

Chiricahua (pronounced “Cheery Cow-a”, according to our friendly neighborhood park ranger) is a land of hoodoos. Somewhat like Bryce Canyon, but we have a different type of rock here. Chiricahua is a land of grays and greens, while Bryce is a land of reds. Check this out…in Turkey, they’ve carved houses out of the hoodoos in Cappadocia.

After a drive up the deserted switchbacks of the 8 mile scenic drive, we arrived at Massai Point, where we could see beyond the hoodoos from our island in the sky, and into the desert beyond. Looking across the expanse, it was easy to understand why some Native American tribes have legends that the hoodoos were people that had been turned to stone. I really felt like we were with a tribe, and tried to imagine the Apaches during their time here. There are several trails, providing access to Punch and Judy, and Duck on a Rock, as well as formations with more staid names such as Big Balanced Rock. We took the short trail around the point, as I had made the infamous and oft-repeated mistake of trying to stuff too many things into one day.

As we made our way out of Chiricahua, we passed hoodoo formations with more clever names such as Sea Captain and China Boy. We stopped at the Organ Pipe formation, where I was quite surprised at the refreshing smell of pine in the air. I can still smell that pine, which always comes to mind when I think of my trip to Chiricahua.

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3 Comments on Smell the pines at Chiricahua

  1. good post, added you to my RSS reader. Greetings from DC 🙂

  2. admin says:

    That would be scary, but they don’t let you climb the hoodoos. It’s a unique park. The other place in the U.S. to see hoodoos is Bryce National Park in southern Utah. The hoodoos there are sandstone, so they’re shades of red and beige instead of the gray that is presented at Chiricahua.

  3. dawn charlton says:

    looks like scarey climbing

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