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Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Another Memorable Holiday Mountain Hike


Starting out in the car on Sunday looked like this! Dogs make us laugh!

My neighbor and hiking partner and I seem to have made a tradition of holiday hiking this year. That is, we go out ordinarily on just about every morning with our dogs, but we made several special expeditions, more than one on a holiday. There was, to begin with, Christmas vacation: On Christmas Eve Therese and I went to Whitewater Draw without the dogs but then, two days later, hiked farther up one of our usual washes with Sunny than we’d ever gone on foot – up into the oak tree zone! By New Year’s Eve, Therese had a new puppy, and Yogi came along for the climb up Town Hill in Dos Cabezas, while Sunny stayed home. I even had a no-dogs hike on part of the Echo Canyon Loop in Chiricahua National Monument on Good Friday with David's cousin Jim and wife Carol, visiting from the Phoenix area. 

At the Monument with Jim and Carol on Friday --

Therese and I were eager to get back to hiking with two dogs, though. My birthday is not an official holiday, but that day we were three women and two dogs, and it was a fabulous sort of holiday for me in the Chiricahuas. Which brings us to Easter Sunday and the most recent adventure, exploration of another small canyon in the Dos Cabezas Mountains, again with both dogs, Sunny and Yogi, which unfolds below. 

Rocks tower over "navigable" road.

We drove up the road past our recent trailhead, parked, and continued walking uphill. The rocks towering over the road were awe-inspiring, but my friend was just as excited by what she called out (every time she saw some) as “organized rocks,” i.e., a man-made wall structure, perhaps to contain flowing water at one time. We kept seeing different bits of the "organized rocks" as our road continued to parallel a rocky dry wash. Also, in the second image below, note the red rocks above the spring-greening tree. Delightful!

"Organized" rock

When the road and wash intersected, we left the road. That is, we left behind a road that is still used regularly by property owners in the mountains and hiked on an old, overgrown mining road, a “usetabe” road, that paralleled the wash, which was increasingly farther below our path as the old, overgrown road climbed higher. We kept looking down, hoping to see the glint of sunlight on water. 

We branch off onto a usetabe road. (Get it?)

We also paid constant attention to the fascinating rocks we passed, speculating about their origins, but Yogi, as you see below, cared nothing for our conversation on material topics and insisted on exploring higher ground. 

This, I thought, would be a good camping place. Obviously, the cows liked it. The shade was delightful. Oh, but then that old mineshaft – that could house wilder creatures than cows….

Cows rested here, about 6030 ft. above sea level

Old mine entrance

Should we go on?

A nice, diagonal cowpath descended from the cows' resting place to the wash, and we decided to do the same. Still dry. Very rocky. But curiosity about what might be around the next bend led us on....


Flowing water!

Tiny, green, growing things!

On sunlit rock with spring water seeping through....

Did the dogs love the water? Is the pope Catholic? Does a bear…?

Yogi and Sunny

Another wonderful day in the mountains! No bears, lions, or snakes! Flowing water! Happy dogs! Life was very good on Sunday morning!

Lucky Sunny Juliet!

I’m lucky, too. Have you ever heard of forest bathing? That’s just one of the many fascinating topics in The Nature Fix, by Florence Williams. I’m reading the book now and taking a few notes so I can tell you more about it soon, but I completely agree that getting out under blue sky, around green growing things and, if possible, flowing water is some of the best medicine on earth for our souls.


Karen Casebeer said...

Another great adventure, Pamela! I can't wait to hear more about The Nature Fix. Had mine this morning looking for the Pink-footed Goose. Have you heard about that?

P. J. Grath said...

Pink-footed goose! No, that's a new one on me. Did you find it?

Karen Casebeer said...

You can find the full story on Birdwatchers flock to northern Michigan to see pink-footed goose. It must've gotten off track during migration from its breeding grounds in Greenland and Iceland. I'm doing Monday's FB post on the spectacle it created.

P. J. Grath said...

I look forward to your take on the fanatic birders.