Thursday, January 29, 2015

Chiricahua National Monument


We headed east again on Middlemarch Road looking for a high pass that I thought was in the Dragoon Mountains. After driving over a lower pass where we could see the Chiricaua mountain's across the valley I realized that the pass I was looking for was in the Chiricaua Mountains near the national monument. We decided that since we were going to be near the monument that we should take Suzanne and Roy through it.


As we drove down the eastern side of the Dragoon Mountains we passed this interesting sign post.


There used to be a sign here that read “Welcome to Sears population 12 people and 18 dogs” but the sign is no longer there.

As we got closer to the flats we could see this chewed up mountain in the distance.


It turned out to be the gold mine at the old town of Pierce.
We stopped at Pearce to look around a bit.

Here is the old general store.


Below is an old air powered bucket loader.


This is the elevator that was used to bring the ore cars up from the shaft.


Some of the old buildings have been turned into gift shops.


After wandering around Pearce for a while we got back on the road and headed southeast on Hwy.191 to the junction of Hwy.181 where we turned northeast and drove for about 26 miles until we came to the junction for the road that goes to The Chiricaua National Monument.

We could see snow in the higher peaks and passes


Shortly after entering the monument we stopped to check out this old cemetery for the pioneer family that settled this area.



We stopped for lunch at a picnic area.


We were visited by some begging Blue Jays.


After lunch we walked to where the ranch buildings were.


Here is the old barn and tack room.


In the tack room you can see the saddle racks and where they hung the bridles for each horse (the white cans on the wall).


The original cattle ranch was turned into a guest ranch in the 1930’s.
Here is one of the guest cabins.


This is the main ranch house.


After some time walking around the ranch buildings for a while, we headed up the road to Massai Point for an overlook of the fantastic scenery.
Along the road you see the rock formations that make this area so interesting.


The rock on the left in the picture below looks a bit like Snoopy.


This one looks like a turtle sticking its head out of the shell.


After a slow drive up the road marveling at the beauty of the rocks and taking tons of pictures we arrived at Massai Point for spectacular views of the rocks from above.


Here is a plaque describing how the formations were made.


After looking at the formations from this angle we dove to another lookout point.


While we were there we noticed a square hole in the rock across the canyon. We couldn’t tell what we were seeing until Patti took this great picture that shows that the man made hole goes completely through the rock with the trail to a lookout on top of the mountain going through it.


After enjoying the views for awhile we headed back down the road.

Suzanne and Roy’s jeep has a hard top but there is a section in front that can be removed. This is the first time that they ever removed it.


They said it was great to be able to look up and see the rocks as they drove below them.

Around 3:00 we headed for home and by 5:00 we were at Kate’s in Tombstone for dinner.

A good day and a beautiful ride.

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