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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Southeast Arizona’s Cave Creek Canyon

April 26th, 2012 · No Comments

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Cave Creek Canyon, high in the Chiricahua Mountains on the east side of the Coronado National Forest, is so isolated that unless you love birds and wildlife you will never go there. Reed Peters, the owner of Cave Creek Ranch, where we stayed, had warned us to get food and gas in the border town of Douglas, more than 60 miles away. We made sure to follow his advice, but the remoteness of the ranch still caused us problems.

We arrived at 11 p.m. after a long drive from Madera Canyon with several stops en route. Our rooms were ready for us and all seemed well.

But the next morning our rental car had a flat tire. Fortunately, my membership of AAA, formerly known as the American Automobile Association, provides free roadside assistance through an 800 number. The usually respond quickly, but I knew this would take a while. In fact, the driver had to come from Willcox, about 95 miles away.

While we waited, instead of pouting or twiddling our thumbs, we explored the ranch and birded.

Feeders in the Foreground, Cave Creek Canyon in the Background

Feeders in the Foreground, Cave Creek Canyon in the Background

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Some Symbols of the Southwest

Some Symbols of the Southwest

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This Female Costa's Hummingbird Has a Long Tongue

This Female Costa's Hummingbird Has a Long Tongue

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Here's a Better Shot of a Rufous Hummingbird than I Got Earlier on the Trip

Here's a Better Shot of a Rufous Hummingbird than I Got Earlier on the Trip

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A Male Scott's Oriole

A Male Scott's Oriole

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Once the AAA driver, Albert, arrived, he quickly and pleasantly changed the tire. But our tire problems weren’t over. The car we rented had what they euphemistically call a “convenience spare.” It was anything but that.

It was just a temporary spare, physically shorter and narrower than the car’s other tires. A tag warned us not to drive on it at more than 50 mph or for more than 50 miles.

Fortunately, Reed helped us out by calling a friend who knew a man in Rodeo, New Mexico, named Eddie who repairs tires. On the way there we noticed that the AAA driver had stopped to fix a flat in his own vehicle. Of course, we offered to call AAA for him, but he figured he could take care of it himself.

Soon after we returned to the ranch with our car problems behind us, a storm blew in. The weather turned cold and wet. I figured that we deserved some down time anyway, having been continuously on the go for the previous four days.

After a well-deserved nap, in the late afternoon we began our exploration of Cave Creek Canyon. By then the rain had turned to sleet. As we drove up the Mountain Road past the Southwest Research Station, snow began to fall. At that point we decided that this wild and isolated place had shown us enough for one day.

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