Thursday, April 28, 2022

A Travel Day and then Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona - April 27-28, 2022

When we're traveling in our high-profile, 33' 5th wheel, it's good to check the weather forecast the night before a road trip. We did and learned that high winds were predicted for the next afternoon. With that in mind, we planned to leave Ruidoso at about 7 am so we would arrive in Willcox, Arizona before the winds got too strong. We know from experience that high winds on I-10 where we'd be traveling can cause the freeway to shut down due to blowing dust. We didn't want to have to stop on the side of the freeway due to white-out conditions from a dust storm!

Wednesday, April 27: At 7:15 am, we pulled out from Midtown Mountain RV Park in Ruidoso. It was a very easy drive from Ruidoso to Alamogordo, New Mexico on a Wednesday morning. 

Twice in Alamogordo, we passed by the World's Largest Pistachio! Twice we did not stop to take a photo. LOL. Here's a link to this attraction from PistachioLand. Maybe you'd like to take your photo there.

We made good time to Las Cruces on I-25 and then onto I-10. The wind was blowing, but it wasn't bad during the morning hours. We passed the eastbound I-10 Rest Area at the top of the hill west of Las Cruces which has the beautiful roadrunner sculpture. Here is my photo of it from a trip in February 2020.

Roadrunner sculpture at the eastbound
I-10 rest area west of Las Cruces.

As the morning progressed, the wind picked up. We did have some wind with dusty air, but it was not bad enough to close the freeway. We were so relieved and happy we had left early in the morning.

Ft. Willcox RV Park was our destination for two nights. After we set up our 5th wheel, it was time for lunch. We went into Fort Willcox and ordered two deli sandwiches at Safeway. We also bought hors d'oeurves for Happy Hour later with Rick and Jan, our long-time friends who now live in Vail, Arizona (south of Tucson). They arrived at the RV park later in the afternoon.

We spent the evening reconnecting with Rick and Jan over cocktails and appetizers. Each of us had dinner in our RVs and then got back together to play Sequence. Bob and Rick won the first game. Jan and I won the rest (4 or 5, as I recall).

Tomorrow morning, we'll head out to Chiricahua (pronounced CHEER-a-cow-a) National Monument to hike. We are looking forward to that. It has been on my bucket list for a few years!

Thursday, April 28: After a night of high winds rocking our RVs, we ate breakfast and then Rick & Jan piled in our truck and we took off for Chiricahua. It took about 45 minutes to get there. 

Scenery on our way to Chiricahua.

Once we arrived in the park, we drove almost all the way to the top to the parking lot for the Echo Canyon Trail. We were early enough to find a parking spot close to the trailhead. Rick and Jan made good guides, because they live close enough to come here often.

Trail info.

Once we started the hike and got to the point where we could see into the canyon and see all the rock formations, Bob and I were hooked! The trail was relatively level at the top of the canyon, but soon we dropped down into the canyon where looking up at the rock columns and spires inspired us. 

A long-range view into Echo Canyon.

Scenery at the top of the canyon.

Jan, Rick, and Bob

Jan, Rick, and I are 
standing under a camel.

This is a first look at some columns.

Do you even see Bob and
Rick with all those formations
behind them?

Long shadows in the morning light.

Rock formations near and far.

Bob and Rick enjoying the view.

This is my smiley, happy face!

The trail winds through rock formations.

Soon, we'll look up at these rocks.

Jan and Bob in one of
the grottoes.

The rocks seem so big now!

We walked amongst giants.

The trail continued down and down. The surface was dusty and rocky. When a breeze blew, dust swirled around us.

There were small 

And there were large

Jan, Rick, me, and Bob are on Echo
Canyon Trail at Chiricahua National
Monument in Arizona.

Balancing rock.

Jan, Rick, and Bob.

We are now in the midst of these rocks.

Jan, Rick, and Bob with a rock
wonderland backdrop!

The big rock looks like
Jabba the Hut from Star Wars.

Rick and Bob contemplating
the geology.

Jan, Rick, and Bob.

Jan on the trail.

We kept on going down even when Rick said, "We could probably turn around now." Bob and I didn't want to miss anything!

Orange hedgehog cactus.

A window to more formations.

We are almost to the bottom of Echo
Canyon. Look at how high these 
formations are!

Rick, Jan, and Bob
in the bottom of
the canyon.

This squirrel was overly
friendly. We think he knew
we had good snacks.

At the bottom of the canyon is Echo Park. Rick and Jan told us it's better to hike back up the same trail we came down than do the full loop. So, that's what we did. Going up!

We had our snacks at Echo Park in 
the bottom of the canyon.

Looking at rock formations
from the other direction.

From here, we could see the Echo Park
sign in the bottom of the canyon.

This looks like Wall Street in 
Bryce National Park (sort of).

The signs at the top of the trail.

A different trail to try another time.

From the Echo Canyon Trailhead, we drove down and stopped to see the Organ Pipe Formation on the way to the Visitor Center.

Organ Pipe Formation.

Organ Pipe Formation.

Beauty in front of the 
Organ Pipe Formation.

When we got to the Visitor Center, I stamped my National Park Passport book. Then, we went inside, shopped in the gift shop, and read the exhibits.

Civilian Conservation Corps, 
the president's tree army.

Chiricahua Apache history.

Geology - horizontal ribs.

Geology - tafoni.

Geology - surge beds.

How pinnacles are formed.

Chiricahua fox squirrel.

Rock squirrel.


Acorn woodpecker.

When we finished at the visitor center, Rick and Jan had a special treat in mind for lunch. We headed back to Willcox and went to Coronado Vineyards. For lunch, we shared a charcuterie platter and Pistachio Crusted Chicken Skewers. Lunch was fun. We got to play with our food. 

Charcuterie board and crackers.

The vineyard.

Coronado Vineyard restaurant.

That was the end of our day out. It was great to re-connect with Rick and Jan. We're glad that they planned this part of our trip. We go to do something completely different.

The evening was spent sitting in our 5th wheel and chatting. Tomorrow, we will go to Tombstone for the day, and then continue on to Queen Mine RV Park in Bisbee, Arizona.


  1. Since we (Rick & Jan) were the tour guides on this adventure, we have to say your blog was excellent at conveying the experience. We highly recommend Chiricahua National Monument.

    1. Thank you, Rick and Jan. It was such a good camping trip! I can't wait to write the next few blogs!


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