Within the fixed limits of its allotted hours the sun is supreme. It does not yield to passing clouds, for much of the time there are none. Nothing can deny the sun’s omnipotence or detract from its authority. Step into its presence and you are flooded with light. All the world around you is immersed in its radiance.
- Walter Collins O’Kane, The Intimate Desert
The Apache called this area “The Land of Standing-Up Rocks”....
Chiricahua resembles an oceanic archipelago – a sea dotted with islands – only here the desert is a hot desert grassland. We call these isolated mountain ranges “sky islands.” The Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, and the Rocky Mountain and Sierra Madre ranges all meet here. The convergence of these four homes makes the area unusually rich in biodiversity.
Chiricahua National Monument was established in 1924 to protect the fantastic rock formations known as “the pinnacles.” In 1934 the Civilian Conservation orps began the job of improving the road and constructing the trails and many park structures, including the visitor center.
In 1976 Congress decided to further preserve the land by designating 86% of the monument as Wilderness. This precludes any development and human intervention, thus ensuring the preservation of the geological formations for future generations.
Another 6 miles along the Bonita Canyon Drive will transport you through oak, cypress and pine forests to the summit at Massai Point, where you will get a true sense of being atop a sky island.
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