Friday, March 28, 2008

Road trip!

OK, so finally I have a few minutes to update your on our Easter weekend trip to Chiricahua National Monument.

Thursday we hit the road, hoping to make it there in time to score a spot in their very small (only 24 spaces!) campground, which doesn't take reservations.

It was full. So we ended up setting up camp in the nearby National Forest "dispersed camping" area. We had been warned that this area provided no picnic tables, no running water and no toilets. And that you have to keep all your food in the car to keep the bears from raiding your camp. So that was a fun little adventure. For one night.

In the morning, we broke camp before breakfast (all our food was back in the car anyway) and headed back over to Chiricahua. After driving by 22 occupied campsites, we were pretty excited to find #23 open. We set up camp right away and made us some breakfast.

Then we did some hiking and took in the beautiful scenery. We saw some birds, some deer...

and lots and lots of rocks (yes, including this one).

But something was missing. I wanted to see a coatimundi. A ranger said our best bet would be to look at night. So we drove up the park's main road after dark, slowly, scanning the surrounding vegetation for signs of life.

We drove all the way up to the top of a very large hill. We didn't see another car or another human the whole time. We didn't see a coatimundi, either. But we did see a pair of orange eyes reflecting our headlights in the darkness. A little closer and saw a (very startled) ringtail cat. It slunk away before I could even snap a photo. But, thanks to Wikipedia and the U.S. Geological Survey, here's one.

Before heading back to Phoenix on Sunday, we attended Easter service at San Xavier del Bac Mission.

It was a wonderful reminder that the Creator of those sweeping vistas, precariously balanced rocks and amazing little creatures loved humanity - arguably his most stubborn, reckless, and generally annoying creation - enough to pay the ultimate price to give us life.

Hope you had a beautiful Easter.

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