Coronado National Forest

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Take a hike

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

Yesterday, we took a 16.5 mile hike from our doorstep back through Horseshoe Canyon, then to the south and back out of the mountains through Jackwood Canyon.

Strangely, though it is so close, we’ve never been through Jackwood Canyon. I suspect that the gate into it from 80 is usually locked but I need to verify this. At any rate, it was a very beautiful hike.

You might remember that we did another long “from our house” hike in preparation for the Grand Canyon. That one ended up being mostly off trail (there supposedly was a trail but it was so seldom used as to be gone) and was very difficult as a result. Looking the maps, you never really know whether a trail will be there or not, and our area is remote enough that many trails have disappeared over the years. This time though we were pleasantly surprised to have a good trail for the entire trip. Much nicer!

We started off from our house and went back into Horseshoe Canyon, a hike we’ve done many times. About 7 miles from our house (5 miles into the canyon), there is an old homestead house. About a half mile past that, there is a branch of the trail/road that goes to the south. This goes to Jackwood Canyon.

Much of the hike followed an old forest service road. While most of it would not be passable even with 4 wheel drive, it was perfect for hiking. The trail/road went south through some beautiful grasslands. It wove behind the mountains and eventually cut through a pass, so there wasn’t even a huge climb.

lunch

We almost made it the whole way without seeing a soul, but about three miles from the end, we were approached by a pickup driven by an old cowboy. He stopped, and we said hi. He started out with a look of deep suspicion on his face (the normal expression here when regarding “strangers”). As we told him where we hiked and where he lived, his expression changed to looking as though he thought we were a bit crazy. Eventually, by the end of our conversation, he had a slight smile and seemed to think we were ok. He proclaimed us “quite fit” and wished us well.

We finished the hike in Apache, where we’d left a car. That’s about 6 miles on Highway 80 to Sunrise.

Oh, and there were lots of cows in Horseshoe.

Here’s a map of the hike.

New hike

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

This week, we completed a new hike to the top of Silver Peak. (We’d attempted this before but not reached the summit.) It’s in the Chiricahua Mountains, near Portal, about a half hour from our house.

It’s a fairly strenuous hike. About 10 miles round trip and 3,000 feet gain in elevation. (Yes, Brad is better.)

Here’s the view from the top. (There was even a log book there. That’s neat.)

And a few other pics.

At the top of this thing, there are about 4 flights of stairs to the observation platform.

At the top of this thing, there are about 4 flights of stairs to the observation platform.

Brad at the top

Brad at the top

me at the top

me at the top

 

DSC_0388

 

silverpeak

Clicking on this will take you to a detailed map of this hike. (click satellite in upper right for the best view )

The grace of nature

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Today, we took in a deep drink of the beauty here — the golds, fuschias, and scarlets of the wild flowers; the huge, towering rocks hoodoos; the music of mountain streams swelled from the monsoons; the company of good friends; the exhilaration of knowing that life is sometimes very good.

 

(more pics here)

With a friend visiting, we drove through the mountains to the Chiricahua National Monument. It’s a short trip we’ve made several times without ever ceasing to be amazed at the surrounding beauty. The land changes radically with the season, the amount of rainfall, the light, and even our moods and the company we have along. Always, it makes me pause and wonder why I spend so much time worrying about things that don’t really matter.

Truly, this kind of beauty, the people we share our lives with, and the stewardship we exercise over both are the things that are essential.

Oh, and today I saw my first bear in Coronado. I’ve heard many stories about how plentiful bears are here. I’ve wanted to see a bear for a long time. This morning, I decided today would be the day. And thanks to Brad’s eagle eyes, we saw a bear.

It was a magnificent bear. Seen through the trees and across a small stream, it was just the distance from which I’d like a see a bear — close enough to get a good look, far enough to make both me and him reasonably comfortable. It was a large bear, larger than I’d expected, with a full, healthy coat and a solid rump. He looked at us, loped a little further up the hill, and then turned to take another look.

image credit: cogdog (Alan Levine) – CC BY SA

 

The fire and our garden

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

The fire has now burned over 13,000 acres and more than 560 firefighters are here. This fire burned more in 24 hours than the fire last year did in four weeks, due mostly to high winds. Strangely, even given that, we are feeling more secure personally. No homes have been burned, and we have heard that the firefighters have a “high degree” of confidence that they can prevent the fire from getting out onto the flats where we are. Still, seeing the smoke all day and the incredible flames every night is depressing. And we have not yet unpacked our “evacuation box” (pictures, records, a few other things we wouldn’t want to lose). I’m sure we’ll be fine though, so don’t worry!

On a brighter front, the garden is fabulous. We have moved about 14 of the 20 tomato plants outside. We saw the first actual pea-sized tomato today. The eggplants are thriving, and the peas are taller than me. We have edamame coming up, and there are so many volunteer cucumbers from last year that I may not even plant any new ones. Brad’s garlic and asparagus are thriving. Good health all around, so far at least.

Lettuce from our garden

Lettuce from our garden

Peas in the garden

Peas in the garden

Eggplant in the foreground and tomatoes behind them

Eggplant in the foreground and tomatoes behind them

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 27th, 2009

This year, we are thankful to be spending our first holiday season here and grateful that we have made wonderful new friends and have made great progress on our new home.

We spent the holiday with Barry and Elizabeth and a few friends from here. It was a traditional day: football, friends, family, and food (and lots of it).

This week we also made a trip to the nearby Chiricahua National Monument, which is always a delightful trip.

bradanddadandelizabeth2009

A new take on Friday “happy hours”

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

When we lived in California, Brad and I used to occasionally knock off work early on a Friday and go do something fun. (Not that it outweighs all the extra hours we put in, but this is one of the nice side benefits of having our own business.) Often, we went down to the beach or the harbor to walk, people watch, and, of course, eat.

Yesterday, in celebration of finally getting my desk cleaned off, we decided to go out and look for some more abandoned train cars. We found one, but then got sidetracked following a canyon road. This time it was Price Canyon, which is a few miles south of Apache (10 or 15 miles south of where we live.) These canyon roads, like the one our property is on, are all dirt roads that run west off 80, typically starting with with a few miles of beautiful open range land.

As the roads get closer to the Chiricahua Mountains, they meet up with the national forest.

Then the terrain gradually changes to more rocky mountains. This road first went through one of of the densest oak forests I’ve seen. It was beautiful. In general, the road was very good, but as we got back into the forest more, it got rougher, making us glad we have a big truck. There were some dry rock creek beds that were easy to imagine as rushing rivers in the wet season.

We saw a couple beautiful whitetail deer and many birds. Back in the forest, the rock walls and mountain faces were stunning. We can’t wait to come back and hike here. (From the end of the road, it’s 6 miles to Sentinel Peak and 9 miles to Rucker Lake.) There were some astoundingly tall pines as well. It is amazing how fast the flora changes here.

This was a pretty long road, going about 10 miles back before it ended at a trailhead that we can’t wait to hike and explore more. I rode most of the way back standing in the back of the truck bed (“safari-ing” as we call it), shooting some video. (Stay tuned for the video; I have a big work project to get through first.)

The day finished with us driving back into a beautiful sunset.

I have a feeling this will be the start of some great new Friday “happy hours,” possibly extending into some nice long weekend backpack trips. :)