March 15, 2008

Chiricahua Mountain Backpack

We decided that the trip to this area would not be complete without an overnight in these beautiful mountains. We bought the trailer to Sunny Flats and were lucky to get site 3 which had an awesome backdrop of the mountains! The spot also was the hangout for some beautiful birds, like the Acorn Woodpecker and the Magnificant Hummingbird.

While hiking into the Maple Camp area, we enjoyed the diverse terrain, flowers and more unique birds, like this Painted Redstart.

Just before reaching Maple Camp, we met "Kevin" alocal who had moved here two years ago from New Orleans, where he had been the Curator for Reptiles at Audubon Zoo. After exchanging Katina stories, Kevin went on to tell us how it may be unsafe camping vernite in the Mountains due to the heavy illegal alien and drug traffic at night. He told serveral stories of encounters with up to 20 such individuals "hold up" in the Chiricahuas.
We found a nice spot for camp, just across the Creek from the trail, perhaps a hundred yards away. Our new Big Agnes Seedhouse 3 tent went up quickly, giving us time to enjoy a "hot toddy" in front of a warm fire.

Just about 5 minutes after dousing the fire & crawling in the tent, we were startled by the sound of quick, pounding footsteps on the trail. Paying careful attetion to the noise, we counted at least a dozen distinct pairs of feet passing by! No other sounds were heard, and they just passed quickly by, probably just as afraid of being discovered as us....
Well the night passed peacefully and uneventfully, and the passing of the Mexicans wasn't verified until we were on the trail this morning, when Kim first found a shred of bandelero, and then we discovered another tied to an abandoned water jug, obviously used as a shoulder strap.

The rest of the hike was more pleasant than the walk in, due to the wonderlful morning sunlight illuminating the steep canyon walls. We spotted the elusive Mexican Chickadee, too shy to pose for the camera though.....
I paused for a moment at the small waterfall to enjoy the gurglling sounds of the clear stream.

It was a great backpack, even down the back forrest road which led us back to home, our trailer, where Kim enoyed some more of those beautiful backdrop views, and I sat patiently awaiting the return of the hummingbirds.