It’s a Long, Long Way to Chiricahua

Bob and Mary (back seat stunt riders) declare that we must visit Chiricahua National Monument while in Benson.  After finally figuring out how to spell it, I do a cursory search for directions.  I don’t research enough to get a good idea of what to expect in the park.  After a 40 minute interstate drive, we leave Willcox for the last 34 miles down Hwy 186.  I start to believe that the one thing we won’t see in this park is other people.  The only cars we pass along this desolate route are a few immobile derelicts defending patches of untended yards from the invading desert scrub.

Hiking in Chiricahua

The Chiricahua Visitor Center shares informative info about the park including this helpful display.

A Park Service Intern from Bahama, NC greets us at the visitor center when we finally arrive.  She offers assistance so we ask if there are any hiking trails suitable for old people like us.  Three miles round trip is our limit.  We also like ascending only at the outset while we still have the stamina to climb.  Finally, we prefer the more popular trails where we are likely to meet other hikers.  That way if we do not survive our trek, the chances are greater of someone discovering our lifeless bodies before the coyotes do.  Our young intern suggests the 1.8 mile round trip Sugarloaf Trail. We hope we can manage the short .2 mile steep, rocky section near the crest at the end.  She promises that once at the top we will enjoy a panoramic view of the entire park. 

Storm and I study the CCC historic displays in the visitor center then join the 8 mile scenic highway out to the Sugarloaf hike.  I can see from the trailhead parking lot that there is a small building at the summit where our trail ends.  I immediately imagine myself at the top, inside, sheltered from the sun, taking a short nap on a bench to recover from my hike.  Alas, the reward for my efforts does include an expansive view, but not a place to nap. The historic Fire Tower is locked up tight destroying my dreams of a peaceful summit top snooze.

Guess I will just have to take my nap outside on the ground!

Panoramic View (mountains across the plains are over 70 miles away)

Chiricahua Photos

About Sunny Weathers

Pilot, motorcyclist and full time RVer. Follow me as I travel all over the US in my Country Coach RV volunteering, making new friends and pursuing a constant outdoor temperature between 70F and 80F. I'll share the fun and the tribulations and any great survival tricks I learn!

4 Replies to “It’s a Long, Long Way to Chiricahua”

  1. Jim & Sandy Dukeman says: Reply

    WOW! What can one say, it is kinda pretty up there on top, but I am so glad that ya’ll made it work and took pictures. That way we don’t have to. ;>))) Thanks guys, makes one appreciate some of the other notes you have sent so much. ;>)) GOD BLESS

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      🙂 Thank you!!

  2. Bob and mary says: Reply

    We’ve wondered about that trail. Glad ya made it!

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      Thanks for the suggestion!

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