Saturday, March 20, 2021

Coronado National Memorial and Montezuma Pass

 Wednesday, March 17, 2021 (part two)

As I mentioned at the end of the last blog this is why we could see smoke. There was nothing to indicate we needed to be cautious, that we might not get through, or we should turn around, so we continued ahead. 

I found this information on The Forest Service - Coronado National Forest Facebook page:
March 17, 2021
Border II Prescribed Burn on the Sierra Vista Ranger District proceeding nicely. All edges black lined today. Tomorrow will burn interior of the 1,821-acre project. Burn is 1.5 miles west of Montezuma Pass. Smoke will be visible.
March 18, 2021
Border II prescribed burn on the Sierra Vista Ranger District is complete. Crews are monitoring and will be mopping up hot spots tomorrow. Smoke may be visible tomorrow. 
Another success story in reducing the amount of excess vegetation on the landscape for multiple benefits!

Joaquin Creek

Sycamore Canyon
Yes, there are two guys ahead of us on bikes.

Still going up we could see Doug's Wrangler 
across the canyon from us.

We are stopped while they check to make sure we can
continue forward. Turning around here would not have been
 fun. As I recall we were about five miles from our goal.

Doug's Jeep occasionally disappeared totally into the smoke.

There was a lot of smoke.

Each time I rolled the window down to take a quick picture
I could feel the heat and ashes came in.

We stopped here and got out briefly to look around and
catch our breath. Not a ride I would care to take again.

We could still see the smoke but no flames at this point.

Looking across towards Mexico we could see the smoke haze

and areas that had been burnt with some still smoldering.

Leaving the National Forest Land behind we are almost
to the top and the Coronado National Memorial.

Montezuma Pass
This is the 3rd time we have stood and looked down at this
pass. I wrote about it and the Memorial on our first visit.
If you are interested, click here.

The road we just came up on.

We made it.

 Heading down.

 Down and back on paved roads.

The Entrance to the Memorial.
This was the second time we took this entire ride, the first
time was November 27, 2015 and we started here.
Today this is were we ended. 

Looking out from the parking in front of the sign you can
see the cottonwoods along the San Pedro River.
The border wall is visible along with Mexico in the distance.

Some of the history of the Coronado National Memorial 
Official statements indicate that it was initially designed as a gesture of goodwill and cooperation between the United States and Mexico, through the recognition of Coronado's 1540 expedition to the area. For example, in 1939 the House Committee on Foreign Affairs noted:

As a result of this expedition, what has been truly characterized by historians as one of the greatest land expeditions the world has known, a new civilization was established in the great American Southwest.

And E. K. Burlew, Acting Secretary of the Interior added in 1940:
To commemorate permanently the explorations of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. . .would be of great value in advancing the relationship of the United States and Mexico upon a friendly basis of cultural understanding. . . [It would] stress the history and problems of the two countries and would encourage cooperation for the advancement of their common interests.

Thus the site was first designated Coronado International Memorial on August 18, 1941, with the hope that a comparable adjoining area would be established in Mexico. The arrangement might have been similar to the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park between the United States and Canada. However, despite interest by the government of Mexico, the Mexican memorial was never created, therefore Congress changed the authorized designation to a national memorial on July 9, 1952. The memorial was established by Harry S. Truman on November 5 of that year. As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, the national memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.

As I mentioned above this was the second time we had taken this ride, though it was our third visit to the Coronado National Memorial. We also visited on February 4, 2017 that blog is here. Every time we have visited I have looked up information about this memorial and added something new. Today's information is above.

As we left the Memorial we decided to go our separate ways and meet back at home. Doug was going to make a quick stop for a few groceries and we needed to stop at Walgreens for prescriptions. Plus, we had a package at the Post Office in Huachuca City to pick up.  After a long day we turned into the entrance to Las Cienegas National Conservation Area off of AZ-82. Riding along we could not believe it grazing on a hill near the road we spotted two Pronghorns. Not the large group Nancy, Kissack Adventures, saw on her way in to visit but we were still happy to spot them.

Then a little ways down the road we saw cattle.

The Whetstone Mountains in the distance. 

Back home Yuma is patiently waiting for Tom 
to come out with a treat.

We would have to say this was certainly an interesting day and one filled with beautiful views. It was special to share the day with Doug and Yuma; a day to tuck away in our memory book as a good day.

We are glad you stopped by!
If you have time to leave a comment we would enjoy hearing from you.


  1. It's too bad it was so smoky from the fires. That would NOT be a fun ride. So that's why all those cattle guards say Bicycles Be Aware ... or something like that. I've never seen anyone on any of those gravel roads with bicycles!! Glad you survived!!!

    1. Those bicyclist were assembling for that ride just before the sign saying there was a prescribed burn ahead. Those two went zipping by us when we stopped to take a picture. The fire and smoke made for an interesting ride. It was a little hot when I rolled down the window. I cannot even imagine doing that job for a living.

  2. Even with all the smoke it looks like you had a nice ride seeing beautiful scenery.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. It was still a nice ride and we did still see quite a bit of beautiful scenery.

  3. Love the pictures. Interesting how yours and Dougs pictures are the same but totally different. Nice that you all took the drive together! Yuma is so cute waiting for his treat :)

    1. It was a nice day and a great ride. I know what you mean about the pictures I always find it interesting that we can be looking at and taking pictures of the same scenery but see and focus in on an entirely different part of it. I always enjoy looking at pictures others take of where we have been for that reason. Tom may have spoiled Yuma just a

  4. Great post! So glad we made the journey even we had been there before. The company made this one special. Great pronghorn pictures and I'm glad Yuma didn't tangle with those huge cows and bulls. Yuma can't wait to see Tom again😚 I think the fire and smoke made our trip different and special.

    1. We agree that, that journey was special because of the company. One thing for sure we will never forget this ride especially the part where they were doing the prescribed burn. A nice memory day to look back on.