Scenic USA - Arizona

Chiricahua National Monument

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Rhyolite and Lichens - Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Photos by Dr. Rob Jones
Rob's Chiricahua Cavalcade

     Hiking at Chiricahua National Chiricahua Natural Bridge - Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona Monument offers a totally different look from what's widely expected of the Arizona landscape. Here, the Chiricahua hillsides are eerily dotted with thousands of nature's figurines or statues, all made of volcanic rhyolite rock. Even the Chiricahua Apache were intrigued by this odd landscape, calling it the Land of the Standing Up Rocks.
     Once part of a massive volcanic flow, the fine Land of Standing Up Rocks - Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona grained igneous rocks are now covered with bright neon green lichens. These colorful lichens are made up of multiple organisms. Seemingly just a simple plant, the lichens are actually made of a combination of fungi, algae or cyanobacterium. The slow growing lichens, growing only millimeters per century, are sensitive to air quality. Here in Arizona's Chiricahua National Monument, far away from large cities and industry, the air is clean and pure. Duck on a Rock - Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona
      Enjoying this clear desert air, park visitors may explore over 20 miles of trails which wind through this wonderland of rocks. Pictured here is the 1000 ton Big Balanced Rock found on the trail of the same name. One of many uniquely shaped rocks, Big Blanced Rock is 25 feet high and measures 22 feet in diameter. Many of the individual trails are woven together in the Big Loop, a 9.5 mile trail for vistors hoping to see everything.

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