Running Through Southeast Arizona's Wonderland of Rocks
Gearing up in a brisk wind at the Echo Canyon Trailhead (6780 feet) in the Chiricahua Mountains, we armored up ...
Photo by Matt Hage
Gearing up in a brisk wind at the Echo Canyon Trailhead (6780 feet) in the Chiricahua Mountains, we armored up beneath hats, gloves and wind-proof layers, then descended into a tight canyon, out of the gale. It was January in Arizona's high desert. Rays of sunlight streamed up the trail and we soaked up their warmth. The canyon became saturated with the scent of pines. Spires reared their bulbous heads high above the forest, catching the morning light.
Racing down the trail to generate metabolic warmth, my partner, Agnes, and I took turns with smart-ass comments about running in cold-weather gear on our winter escape from Alaska to the Southwest. The early light selectively touched spires and I stopped to pull out the camera. Agnes paused for a couple shots before continuing down the trail. "No more stopping until we're in the sun," she scolded.
As we neared Ed Riggs Trail's end, the ponderosas gave way to spindly rocks. Rounding a bend, we veered onto the Hailstone Trail, which tread a rock shelf high above the canyon. The drop to our left measured a few hundred feet while an army of volcanic-tuff towers hemmed us on the right. The south-facing wall caught the brunt of the rising sun, allowing us to strip to shorts and T-shirts.