I wouldn't take a dog on a leash on the Echo Canyon Loop that my neighbor and I hiked two years ago. Even the trail going up from the Visitor Center was no fun when another friend and I tried it with Sarah. But from Faraway Ranch to the Visitor Center an easy trail beckoned, and the other day I tried half of it, beginning at the Visitor Center and walking halfway to Faraway Ranch. Had I not left my phone at home, I could have walked the whole distance and called David to pick me up at the other end, but when I left him at the parking lot I didn't know how long the trail was or how much of it I wanted to explore that day.
It was so lovely! Chiricahua Monument was busier than we expected on a weekday (spring break?), but the trail was wilderness-quiet and empty. I saw the deer before I had time to get my camera in position -- and then didn't want to alarm them. Just stood and watched. They stood and watched back. Magical moments with time standing still.
There were, however, signs of not-so-peaceful times: forest fire struck here not all that long ago.
Most trees, though, were flourishing, and many were gigantic, especially along the bed of the creek, dry at present.