The hike leader (me) failed to perform the simplest of research such as, is the monument even open? Arriving in Wilcox after about 2 hours of driving, there was a digital sign flashing, "Hike OK. Park closed" or similar wording. We parked at the entrance and began a 2.3 mile walk to the visitor center.
Actually, the hike along Bonita Creek was pleasant and informative.
A nice meadow setting with trees having leafed.
What the....a turkey! We had planned to do the "Big Loop" which would take us on a 9.5 mile loop, visiting the park highlights. But, with the unexpected and extra 4.6 miles round trip from our vehicle, we had to cut it short.
My hiking partner, Amy, leads the way. The terrain is so different from the Sonoran desert. Lots of ponderosa pines, cedars, alligator junipers, manzanitas, etc....
We climb higher but in the distance, we hear the ominous sound of thunder. Now that is a very weird sound!
We decide to keep going to where the trail splits. Really too bad to have to cut the hike short because of the road closure and thunderstorms. We decide to head back....
...and looking back it was the correct decision. Later I looked at weather radar and there had been a red/orange blob ahead of us so we did the right thing.
There is the hiking guide, proudly wearing the Ohio State hat.
As we descended, to the west the sky was clear and other then a few sprinkles, we stayed dry, finishing with 8 miles.