Yesterday’s post ended with a road sign and multiple possible directions to take. Did you guess correctly? Given the choice, Bill and I will always take the scenic route, choosing a route we’ve never been on before rather than going back the way we came. We took the dusty eight mile dirt road to Highway 82. It was glorious!
It took us an hour to travel the eight miles – twice the amount of time we spent at the Roundup! – never getting above ten miles per hour. We found a lot more interesting things on our drive than we did at the Roundup also.
There were mountain ranges and waving grasses all around us.
The Whetstone Mountains to the east.
The Mustang Mountains to the southeast.
The Huachuca Mountains to the South.
The Santa Rita Mountains to the west.
At some point we noticed that the soil composition began to change, as there were many more large rocks in and along the side of the road.
We saw real trees! Not the little scrub mesquite, but BIG TREES!
I saw this tree as we drove up out of a wash. The contrast between the green leaves and the blue sky was incredible. I asked Bill to stop after got up out of the draw and I got out, walked back down into the draw, and took pictures while walking up out of the draw.
We definitely would not have wanted to travel this road during monsoon season. We could see places where the road had recently been graded, throwing a berm of rocks and dirt off to the side. I imagine the monsoon rains wreak havoc with the road, even where it doesn’t cross a draw like this.
I think these are turpentine bushes.
We saw birds.
Eventually we found the main highway, drove to Sonoita for lunch at a small-town diner, and then went home.
It was one of the most enjoyable days we’ve had in quite some time.
Yesterday Bill and I spent the day visiting Chiricahua National Monument, which is one of my favorite places to go around here. I say “around here” loosely, since we drove over 225 miles yesterday, so it is not exactly close by.
We packed a lunch and ate at the visitor’s center. It had rained earlier in the day, so the creek near the visitor’s center actually had water in it!
These are some of the rock formations near the visitor’s center:
Then we drove to Massai Point, elevation 6875 ft. The last time we visited, we were unable to drive up the mountain due to the 2011 wildfire. Even though they’ve completed repairs to the road, evidence of the wildfire was everywhere, as you can see from this tree:
One of the reasons I so enjoy going to the monument is that the drive there takes us through the Sulphur Springs valley, an area that includes irrigated farm land and grazing pastures that green up beautifully during the Monsoon season.
As we headed towards Bisbee from Douglas, the sun was covered by a cloud, which certainly made driving easier, since we were heading west, directly into the sunshine. It always made a spectacular picture:
All in all, it was a pleasant day. We haven’t taken a day trip like that in several months, so it was a nice diversion from our usual weekend routines lately.
For more pictures of Chiricahua National Monument, you can visit these posts:
Faraway Ranch at Chiricahua National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument
More of Chiricahua National Monument
Last of the Chiricahua pictures
Organ Pipe Formation
Tree at Massai Point
Chiricahua National Monument Entrance
September certainly flew by! It seems like I was just writing my September goals yesterday and here it is October already. Tomorrow will be the third anniversary of our arrival in Arizona, October 3, 2009. I did not expect it would turn out to be this long of a stay. And it would seem pretty evident that the end is not in sight. Ah well. Contentment, right?
The Monsoons season is officially done as of September 30th, although realistically it ended right after Labor Day. We had a day of rain that Tuesday and then only one day last week of intermittent showers. It is pretty amazing how clear the sky is once the monsoons end.
I took this picture at the rest area on I-10 just south of Phoenix, looking east towards the Superstition Mountains. You can see for miles and miles!
And Sunday night I took this picture of the sunset: