Since leaving Patagonia, we have traveled past magnificent rock outcroppings; up high mountains and then down the other side then up again; across acres of mountain grass lands, some perfectly flat other times rolling and steep; through forests of short rounded lollipop junipers suddenly morphing into pines as we again gain elevation.
And, to our sorrow, acres of wildfire remnants.
The miles provide fascination between long stretches of monotony, but then, after not paying attention for a spell, fascination again. We've been traveling the southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico scenic highways, avoiding interstates whenever possible. The populations are very sparse; towns few and mostly dead or dying.
Our first night out from Patagonia was Chiricahua National Monument. We will return to Chiricahua in May to trail angel for Yessi and Brad as they map for Green Trail Maps. Because we plan to return
we didn't spend lots of time exploring, but did grab the opportunity to scrutinize camps and resupply options.
Gila Box Riparian National Conservation area, our next stop, was interesting, remote, and is largely undiscovered. The Gila River access, in the canyon below our camp, was the beginning of a 23 mile float, through canyon walls 500 feet high. Kayaks! We need kayaks!
In talking with a couple of kayakers, they suggested The Catwalk, a National Recreation Trail in New Mexico. That became our next destination, resulting in a huge disappointment as it was temporally closed. However, scenic Highway 180 was certainly no disappointment.
Surprise Christmas trees appeared from time-to-time, just to keep us on our toes, I guess.
"Embrace all emotions: sadness, happiness, sorrow, hate, love, prejudice, fear; they are weapons
against our greatest enemy: indifference."
- Dave Matthes
Wanderlust and the Whiskey Bottle Parallel: Poems and Stories