Christmas at Chiricahua, Saguaro and Waffle House
Friday, December 25, 2009 (Christmas Day)
I was up early to drive the more normal route to Chiricahua, getting close to it as the sun came up. It was very quiet, but I was able to drive into the national monument and go as far as the camping grounds, which had a fair bit of snow in large patches. There was a gate closing the roadway beyond the campgrounds, so I parked and walked in.
It was a lovely walk along the roadway with no cars and no other people, with bright sun shining off the tall rocks, and with trees and rocks towering overhead. The rocks seem to be like giant figures, reminding me a little of the rock formations at Montserrat outside of Barcelona. I took many pictures, and walked the gently climbing road, enjoying the solitude.
At one point, a ranger drove up to me just to check on me. He said it was no problem for me to be walking there, but had seen my car and wanted to make sure it didn’t belong to some hiker who had had a mishap.
It was too far to walk to the end of the road where there is apparently a nice overlook, but I walk several kilometers and enjoy the scenery.
My other excursion on that beautiful sunny Christmas Day was to visit Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson. Its purpose is to show off the Saguaro cactus and its desert environment. There’s a short ring road that you can drive making regular stops and pull offs to explore and admire the desert. The tall Saguaro cactus make dramatic shapes pointed up to the sky, and many other desert plants grow in these hills and valleys at the base of some brown mountains. Here too, I did a lot of walking but no major hikes, and stayed until the sun set behind the cacti.
Finding a motel was not a problem, but finding a place to eat on Christmas day always is. I ended up going to that old standby, the only place I’ve ever found open for meals on Christmas day in the US, the Waffle House. There I had a nice Christmasy cheeseburger cooked on the open grill.