Chiricahua: Who Do Hoodoos?

Dear Maia and Isaac,

I hate interstate highways!  I prefer the road less traveled in life and on road trips.  But, the sun brought the reality that I planned one day where the main travel was all on I-10.  If I had another day off, I would have done backroads.

The road to Chiricahua State Park

The first leg of the journey was 132 miles to the turn-off to our side trip – Chiricahua National Monument. I had a lot of energy when I planned this trip . . . I wanted to see it all.  It is hard to see the saguaro cactus and New Mexico in the same years. Especially because of the dream about White Sands, which is more central/south New Mexico.  So, I figured one day on the interstate would be the only way to do that.

Hoodoos at Chiricahua State Park

But, then, I didn’t want a full day of highway signs and semi trucks to remember my day – so when I planned my route, I saw Chiricahua National Monument.  It wasn’t right on the highway – so it would mean a side trip.  I looked at the photos of the Monument online and I really thought it looked pretty.  So, that would be our fun for today.

Solo hoodoo on our hike. 

We turned off the interstate and drove 35 miles to the entrance.  It started as flat desert grassland and yuccas, but as we climbed up the desert mountain range, it got greener.  It was very rural and pretty.  Once we got in the park, I was taken back with its beauty.  It was cool enough for a hoodie and kind of windy.  But a beautiful day.

Vegetation at Chiricahua State Park

It looked like mountains, but with big yuccas.  And, remember what I said about seeing all four seasons this trip?  Well, today was fall.  The trees had orange leaves and there were lots of brown leaves on the ground.  I am not sure why, but guessing deserts mountains may adapt to the seasons differently.

Kachina, Sazi and Maizzy on a bench just their size

We took a short, dog-friendly hike and Maizzy slept in her carrier, again.  I feel so bad seeing her grow older . . . but that is life’s cycles, too.

Me and my very sleepy passenger


After the hike, we did the 8-mile scenic drive.  Now, I didn’t need more miles on my car but this was worth it.  The road was lined with hoodoos (rock structures) like you see a lot in Utah, except they were darker.  Definitely a different evolution.  It was a canyon, so the hoodoos were above us at first.  It was kind of hard to get photos.  I did the best I could.

The summit was higher in elevation than Montrose or Colorado Springs!

Once we reached the top of the peak we took the little paved nature hike.  It was really windy on top.  And, you could see for miles and miles up there – over the heads of hundreds of hoodoos in the foreground.  I always think the view down to the desert from a higher elevation is breathtaking.

Hoodoos with the desert in the background.
The view from the drive up to the summit

We got some better photos of some of the hoodoo structures on the way down.

Stately hoodoos!

Then, it was back on the interstate for 90 more miles.  I am exhausted!  I had instant oatmeal for dinner, again.  I planned too much for today, but the side trip was worth it.  And, I learned what to do if there is a windstorm and you are driving.  There were big signs on I-10 with instructions – they repeated a few times.  Each sign had one step on it – pull over, turn off your car/lights, don’t step on the brake pedal, and buckle-up.  Now I know, I guess.

Tall hoodoos – notice the broken one.

Tomorrow, we go to a nursery about 10 minutes from the hotel to find some new cacti and succulents to bring home and we play in the big cactus at Catalina State Park until early afternoon.  Then, we head back up the Colorado Plateau.  The first part of the trip was mainly on new routes.  This second half is familiar paths.  I knew I had put too much on the schedule, so I thought it best to take a known route home.  But, you know, there are always surprises.  And, I am collecting Park patches for Maizzy’s backpack.  I just hope she is around to ride in it next year.

Love and miss you guys,

Grandma Hartt


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s