Take this time to gaze upon the majestic Chiricahua Mountains where the group will hike the many scenic trails this week.
Dinner: DINNER served at 5:30 PM at a local restaurant. Participants will be transported as a group from the Hotel to the restaurant. The group's first meal will be Mexican cuisine. The restaurant is family owned and the food prepared fresh daily.Evening: ORIENTATION at the Hotel. Following dinner the group will return to the Hotel for program orientation. This will be a time to review the week's activity, answer any questions, learn about emergency procedures and have a formal welcome from staff. There will be some interaction activities to serve as a means for introductions. We are prepared for a week of great fun, memorable hikes and some great lecture programs.Lodging: Holiday Inn - WillcoxMeals Included: Dinner
LECTURE on "The History of Apache Pass & Apache Springs" will be presented prior to commensing the Fort Bowie Tour and hike to the trailhead. The history of Apache Pass (named after the Apache Indians) began with the spring—it was a watering place in the harsh desert of what became southern Arizona. Indigenous peoples were dependant for their survival on regular access to water holes, so the spring at Apache Pass was a natural stopping place.
The modern history of Apache Pass began with the great Apache leader Cochise, who, along with many of his followers, favored the area around the spring as a camping spot in winter and spring.
Lunch: TRAIL LUNCH. Take in the unique beauty of the area while enjoying a nuitrious trail lunch prepared at the Hotel kitchen.Afternoon: TAKE A WALKING TOUR of Historic Downtown Willcox. Visit the Rex Allen Museum and the Cowboy Hall of Fame. Stroll down historic Railroad Avenue and on the corner you’ll come across another old adobe building, The Willcox Commercial. Built in the early 1880s, it is the oldest continually operating store in Arizona. When Geronimo had a craving for sweets, he went to the Willcox Commercial to buy his sugar. He didn’t trust the white men but he knew how much a pound felt and before purchasing the sugar, he would balance it in his hand to feel the weight of it. Geronimo was determined not to let any clerk cheat him.Dinner: 5:30 PM DINNER served at local restaurant. Tonight the group will have the opportunity to experience more of the local cuisine.Evening: 6:30 PM "Chiricahua Sky Island" video presentation.Lodging: Holiday Inn - WillcoxMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We will enjoy a stop at Portal Peak General Store for a shopping experience in a small country store located along the banks of Cave Creek.
Dinner: 6:00 PM DINNER served at a local unique restaurant. Tonight the group will have a relaxed evening as we dine in a train dining car! The cuisine tonight will be some real western bar-b-que with all the fixins.Evening: 7:00 PM "ASTRONOMY IN AZ" presentation/lecture. Tonight's program will be presented by an Astronomer from Mount Graham National Observatory located in Safford AZ. Mount Graham Observatory is an operations and maintenance group whose mission is to provide quality logistics support services to the astronomical research community. The Observatory is affliliated with the University of AZ Department of Astronomy.Lodging: Holiday Inn - WillcoxMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
As you hike the trail listen to the whispers of those from long ago and enjoy the superb views of the canyon.
Lunch: TRAIL LUNCH Imagine those who walked these trails in years past as you relax and enjoy the lunch prepared by the Hotel kitchen this morning.Afternoon: TOUR THE AMERIND MUSEUM & ART GALLERY enroute to our Hotel. Founded in 1937 by William Shirley Fulton, the Amerind Foundation is a private nonprofit anthropological and archaeological museum and research center dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Native American cultures and their histories. Located in spectacular Texas Canyon in the Little Dragoon Mountains of southeastern Arizona, the Amerind houses one of the finest private collections of Native American art and artifacts in the countryDinner: 6:00 PM DINNER at a local restaurant. We have had a busy few days so it will be nice to have dinner at the Hotel tonight. Set back, enjoy the feast and company of your new friends.Evening: 7:00 PM "GEOLOGY OF SOUTHEASTERN AZ" lecture. Tonight's program will be presented by a geologist retired from the University of AZ. Six major ash flows and a capping rhyolitic volcanic flow make up the Rhyolite Canyon Formation in the Chiricahua Monument region. Tonight we will learn about the unique geology of this area.Lodging: Holiday Inn - WillcoxMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The Chiricahua Apaches took refuge here during hostilities with whites, and after Geronimo surrendered, in 1886, Bonita Canyon was settled by Swedish immigrants Neil and Emma Erickson. Their daughter and her husband turned the homestead into a guest ranch and worked to make the area a national park. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge designated the area a national monument. The homestead was named Faraway Ranch by the family. The property was sold to the National Park Service in 1979, and it became a historic district within the monument.
Dinner: 6:00 PM DINNER SERVED. Tonight dinner will be served at a local restaurant. Compare the ethnic dishes tonight to the dinner served on the first night of our program.Evening: "DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHO YOU HAVE BEEN HIKING WITH THIS WEEK?" We are in for an evening of fun as you participate in an exercise to better get to know those you are spending the week with.Lodging: Holiday Inn - WillcoxMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight special entertainment is a local musical group.
Note: Participants may hike the Heart of Rocks Trail (7.5 miles) with an elevation gain of 880 ft. or choose the shorter Sugar Loaf Trail (2.5 mile) hikethat is one of the highest points in the Monument.Breakfast: 7:00 AM BREAKFAST served at Willcox Holiday Inn. Your choice of a number of tasty and healthy breakfast foods.Morning: HIKE OPTIONS: HEART OF ROCKS TRAIL (7.5 miles) OR SUGAR LOAF TRAIL(2.5 miles)
The Heart of Rocks is a huge badland of fanciful rock formations. The trail cuts through the badland in almost maze-like fashion taking convoluted twists and turns through narrow slots and openings in the rocks.
The entire loop provides a wide variety of terrains. Hike through quiet, shaded valleys, deep in woods and pass open plateaus with the "big" views. The elevation of the trails range from 5,980 feet to 7,010 feet.
The entire trail system is within the Chiricahua Wilderness Area and is therefore pristine. There are no impacts from grazing or logging. No evidence of civilization besides the trail and the signs. Notice the silence, except for the occasional (and inevitable) plane, the occasional call of a bird.
The Heart of Rocks trail begins eight miles from the park entrance at Massai Point.
A mile-long descent from the trailhead takes you into a deep, shaded canyon. Creek beds trickle with running water in the spring, but remain dry much of the time after June.
Cross through the Pygmy Forest, so named for the short, stumpy Chihuahua pine and Arizona cypress that grow in the shallow, rocky soil.
Lack of moisture contributes to the stunted growth of the trees, which look more like big pine bushes, with branches that grow sideways instead of up.
Leave the main trail just beyond Big Balanced Rock for a short side trip into the Heart of Rocks area. Here, the hike begins to take on the feel of an outdoor museum. Follow the footprints painted on the path alongside strange and wonderful rock formations.
The way back to Massai Point is much quicker - almost all downhill except for the last mile climbing out of the canyon.
Lunch: TRAIL LUNCH - This will be our last trail lunch of the program. Tomorrow's farewell lunch will be served at a restaurant.Afternoon: SUGAR LOAF TRAIL Hike - Sitting atop the heart of Chiricahua National Monument is 7310 foot Sugarloaf Mountain. This prominent peak, which stands in a sea of volcanic hoodoos, can be seen for miles. This short hike provides sweeping views of the Monument and surrounding areas.
The Sugarloaf Mountain Trail passes through a short tunnel that was blasted through the cemented volcanic ash of an ancient hoodoo. Beyond the tunnel, the trail traverses a steep slope covered in angular boulders, broken off from the low cliffs above the trail. Soon the trail rounds the mountain to the drier, southern slope. The Heart Of Rocks area comes into view now, amid the manzanitas, yuccas, and plentiful beargrass. On the southern horizon, the rolling, green, 9000 foot summits of the Chiricahua peaks form a backdrop against the Monument's countless rock totem poles. The mosaic pattern from 1994's Rattlesnake Fire is clearly visible among the peaks. The trail now makes a switchback here, and plows through a row of manzanita bushes, before arriving on the northeast corner of the windswept summit. The historic one room fire lookout, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's, greets you here. Roam around the mountain top, and take in the 360 degree views. From the top of Sugarloaf Mountain view the Bonita Canyon watershed, Cochise Head, and the Dos Cabezas Range to the north.
Dinner: 5:30 PM DINNER at a local restaurant. Enjoy a special meal tonight followed by entertainment provided by a local Cowboy Poet.Evening: Entertainment provided by a local Cowboy Poet. This will be a fun evening to relax and enjoy some cowboy stories and music.
Lodging: Holiday Inn - WillcoxMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Visit Lake Cochise where many winter migratory birds take up residence from Oct to Feb.
Note: Hike past several abandon gold mines to a remote spring on a gravel road with an assent of approximately 500 feet.Breakfast: 8:00 AM BREAKFAST SERVED at Holiday Inn. Enjoy a relaxed nuitrious breakfast.Morning: HIKE to DOS CABEZAS once a gold mining town. View Lake Cochise where many winter migratory birds spend the winter.
Dos Cabezas is a partial ghost town 14 miles southeast of Willcox. While only a few residents remain today, the town was once a thriving center for surrounding mines and cattle ranches.
Dos Cabezas, where Ewell Spring is located, was the next dependable source of water west of Apache Spring. A stage depot was built here, and in the late 1870s gold and silver were found in the Dos Cabezas Mountains. The resulting town took its name from the two peaks above the spring. Dos Cabezas is the Spanish name for "Two Heads".
Willcox Playa (Lake Cochise)
This giant lake bed south of Willcox covers 50-60 square miles. The playa is usually dry, but after heavy rains it becomes a shallow lake. Mirages may be seen on the surface in summer. As many as 10,000 sandhill cranes and smaller numbers of ducks and geese winter here from October to about late February.
Lunch: GRADUATION LUNCH served at a local restaurant.. The program week of stellar hikes, majestic scenery, interesting lectures and fun entertainment and comradarie concludes after lunch.
Thank you for joining Geronimo Educational Travel Studies LLC and Road Scholar for a learning adventure. We hope to see you again soon.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch