Where Nature Created a 'Wonderland of Rocks'
By GERRY BARKER
North Palm Beach Life
Published Feb. 14, 2019
Whe we travel, it's almost a sure thing we're going to stop if there's a national park or monument close by. So we were delighted to find that some 40 miles southeast of Willcox, Arizona is Chiricahua National Monument.
The history of the monument dates back to 1924, when the park was established to protect its incredible "hoodoos" and balancing rocks. The only other place we've been that rivals it is Bryce Canyon, Utah.
Actually, you have to go a little farther back in history to get to the rocks' origin: A volcanic eruption 27 million years ago. What we see today is the result of erosion of that volcanic material that spewed out of the earth. Nice job, Nature.
Another chapter in its history is the Faraway Ranch, now an Historic District within the monument. The Swedish-born pioneers who settled here in the 1880s led the way to establishing the park. In fact, you'll see their final resting place in Erickson Cemetery, located at the park's entrance.
Your first stop will probably be the Visitor Center, where you'll learn everything the park has to offer. There's a scenic eight-mile, paved road, as well as 17 miles of day trails to explore. Words don't really do it justice, so let's take a look at what awaits you in this "Wonderland of Rocks."
Rocks tower on each side of the road
The park is famous for
its balancing rocks
HOODOO (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney or earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. ... They generally form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations. (Wikipedia)
This is famous Pipe Organ Formation
A sweeping vista from one of the park's trails
Pam picked a pretty place to rest
These hoodoos were 27 million years in the making
An observation area on one of the trails
Pioneer settlers remembered in Erickson Cemetery