Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Heart of the Rocks

©Bert Gildart: One more posting about Chiricahua National Monument, and, as you can see, we’re posting these back to back; reason being that we had no reliable connectivity while in this remote Arizona canyon.

One of the reasons I wanted to provide another post about the area is that I received accolades for my trailer maneuvering–and, of course, have to call attention to that fact. Read it and you’ll understand the challenges that crop up by camping in Bonita Canyon Campground–but you’ll see how you might overcome them.


From Heart of the Rocks trail magnificent views are everywhere.

The other reason for this post is that we hiked a trail known as Heart of the Rocks, and views from along this trail provide yet more testimony to this small area’s incredible beauty.


Chiricahua National Monument provides camping sites for trailers up to 28 feet, precisely the length of our Airstream. To reach the site we had to descend two fords and each time our skid pads scraped the road as we were ascending from the dip. Though there was no damage to our trailer, we left substantial gouges in the concrete. To avoid a reoccurrence we decided that when we left we’d try backing up the narrow 50-yard-long, one-way road.

“OK by me if you do it,” said Dave, the campground host. “But I think you’ll find it a challenge.”

To prepare ourselves, first we hooked up our Hensley Hitch, something Janie was dreading because we were on a slope, but she beamed when we backed the stinger into the receiver just as though we’d been doing it all of our lives, rather than for the few months we’ve owned this state-of-the-art anti-sway device.

“Looks like we’ve got it,” laughed Janie. “Now I hope you can back this up under pressure, ‘cause we’ve got an audience.”


Balanced Rock as seen from Heart of Rocks

To make a long story short, backup went without a glitch, even around a tight corner where we had to crank almost 90 degrees. When the small assembled group cheered, I beamed one of my broadest smiles. Folks laughed and said I was hired.


Heart of the Rocks is precisely what the name suggests, and though a shuttle will take you to the top, so allowing you the opportunity to hike down, Janie and I decided to climb up the trail from the campground leading to these geological wonders, located–appropriately–in the heart of the park.

From the campground, the trail climbs about three miles, then links to a 1.1 mile loop that threads through rocks with names such as Kissing Rock, Balanced Rock, Thor’s Hammer, and Camel’s Head. Here , geological forces have exerted themselves in a most artful way, and so have the subsequent forces of erosion.

We regret departing Chiricahua, but are looking forward to time in San Antonio where we plan to explore the various missions, to include the Alamo. We plan to stroll along the city’s famous River Walk, and visit with several life-long friends. One is David Bristol, the person with whom I climbed Mount Rainer; the other Brian Maughan, another life-long friend who has distinguished himself as a sculpture. Brian lives in Ohio with his wife Marie, but has a studio in New York.  He and Marie will be arriving here Thursday night by plane and David and I with our wives will form a Devilish welcoming committee.

President Carter has collected some of Brian’s work and most recently, Brian was commissioned to sculpt busts for the new baseball stadium in Chicago.

Life is good when one knows when–and how–to back up, and when one has good friends.



*Sunset For Joshua Trees?


One Response to “Heart of the Rocks”

  1. Tom Palesch Says:

    Hi Bert and Janie: I enjoyed your blog on Heart Of The Rock. We sent time in that area last year most of it on the east side of the mountain near Portel, Paradise and Round up. There is an excellent NFS CG near Portel, but with only a few spaces for a 28-30′ TT. But, there are beautiful views all around and birders seem to rule the day there. The mountain range just to the east of there has been the photographed documentation of the return of the jaguar from Mexico. This is beautiful, but rugged country. Next time you are there, look at the east side as well.