Friday, May 07, 2010

Chiricahua Revisited

As I drove south the morning of April 22nd the weather was nice. I was even greeted by a few wild flowers blooming along the side of the highway.

But you see those clouds in the distance. Not a good sign. Nope, not at all... Stopping briefly in Willcox, I continued on to Chiricahua. I got to the turn off to the park, saw the dark clouds hanging low over the mountains four miles away and quickly turned around and went back to Willcox. I knew that the campground was in a canyon beneath a canopy of trees that provided a good deal of shade. Seeing that layer of dark clouds overhead, I also knew that there would be no sun penetrating into the valley.

I ventured a few miles to the west, over the next range of mountains, to the town of Benson where I knew there was a State Park (Kartchner Caverns). When I got there, the weather looked good. It was relatively warm and the sun was shining. However, before long that changed. The dark clouds moved in as did the rain – the campground host said there was a possibility of snow that night!

The view from the van, near dusk. It was getting cold.

And this is the next morning, after I had cleared off the windows, which were caked with heavy, wet snow. It was just cold enough to make it uncomfortable. I left Kartchner Caverns a few minutes after this picture was taken. I stopped to use the internet and checked the weather....with the forecast in hand, I returned to Chiricahua National Monument.

The mountains along the highway to Chiricahua were topped by a layer of clouds, but blue sky was starting to make an appearance, as was the sun!

The view from Faraway Ranch in Bonita Canyon at the entrance to Chiricahua National Monument, taken in early afternoon of April 23rd. As I set up my tent, there was a brief sprinkling of a rain-snow mix but not enough to cover the ground. Within two hours the clouds had nearly cleared up and the sun was shining. It turned into a beautiful day!

By evening, the clouds had moved back in, making for a dramatic sunset with the distant mountains as a backdrop.

1 comment:

Sue said...

We have toured Kartchner Caverns a couple of times - the cave tour is spectacular! But we have never checked out the campground. It sounds like you got the worst of the weather. Do take care....