Chiricahua – a spooky place in Arizona

Here’s another place, not nearly so well known as Death Valley, but very interesting, surreal, spooky – Chiricahua -it’s in southeastern AZ.

Chiricahua National Monument

“Chiricahua National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service located in the Chiricahua Mountains in southeast Arizona. It is famous for its extensive vertical rock formations. It was created on April 18, 1924. The national monument also preserves the Faraway Ranch, owned at one time by Swedish immigrants Neil and Emma Erickson.[3]

The monument is located approximately 36 miles (58 km) southeast of Willcox, Arizona. Geologists believe that it preserves the remains of an immense volcanic eruption that shook the region some 27 million years ago. The thick white-hot ash spewed forth from the nearby Turkey Creek Caldera, cooled and hardened into rhyolite tuff, laying down almost two thousand feet of dark volcanic ash and pumice, highly siliceous in nature, which eventually eroded into the natural features visible that we see at the monument today.[4] Stone columns, called hoodoos, are the most common formation in the monument.”

“The Chiricahua Mountains are a crossroads for plants and animals from four ecosystems; the Rocky Mountains to the north, Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains to the south, the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts.”

Don’t know why or how I decided to visit… ‘because it’s there?’ – would that explanation work for you? I drove to the highest point, and walked down the trail for a while, before returning to the top, and my car. It was spooky – i expected to see a native american turn the corner and stare at me, in some kind of 150 year time warp. It didn’t happen.





Here’s an excellent slide show about SW American geology/rock formations:

So what did i do in the darkroom with some of my negatives?

I found a path, at the high-end expensive Death Valley Hotel… and  blended it in with this death defying balancing act of rocks found at Chricahua.


I also shot this totally gnarley tree, and it got blended into a similarly spinning swirling cloud. They are both rather… uh… twisted, aren’t they?


I could obviously explore this place much more than I did. That applies to most anyplace. I have been to Death Valley, Joshua Tree NP, & the Mojave reserve, all several times. Barely scratched the surface. You can go back to a place many times, it will never be exactly the same. One sentence that inspired me a long time ago was in an ad for Fuji film, being endorsed by Joel Meyerowitz, who had a book of his work, then recently published, called ‘Cape Light’, about Cape Cod. At the top of the page, one of his images of a harbor, at dusk, i think. The headline: “I’ve been down to the harbor a thousand times, but it only looked like this once”

And some things only happen once in a great while:

Death Valley blossoms with wildflowers in potential rare ‘super bloom’


Last but not least, let’s give a hearty round of applause to Senator Feinstein and POTUS Obama for making this happen:





Petreoglyphs are high on my list of interests:

Jonathan Bailey’s haunting photographs of Western pictographs join essays by Lawrence Baca, Greg Child, Lorran Meares and others to tell the larger story of a disappearing cultural heritage and the need for its conservation. Rock Art: A Vision of a Vanishing Cultural Landscape brings an ancient people to life through their stone-etched images, many of which are threatened by development and vandalism. “What will the future be for these images?” Bailey asks.

Let’s hope it is not like this:



This is a most amusing article, get ready to chuckle, at the least!