Daily Archives: May 22, 2015

Morenci Copper Mines – May 2, Part 2

After all of the beautiful mountain scenery, you reach the end of the National Forest and suddenly enter the Morenci open pit copper mine. It is the largest copper mine in the Northern Hemisphere. It is impossible to describe or show the immensity of the mine. These are the best photos I have. I have more text after this set of photos. 
   

 

  

  

   
 

There is an observation point to look down at the mine and take photos. The tire in this photo is 15 feet tall. Our vehicle is 12 feet tall, and if it wasn’t for the fact that the tire is about 10 feet behind us, you could get a better idea of the size. The vehicles that use these tires are too small to see in any of my photos.
  
Past all of this is the new town of Morenci. The original Morenci is now part of the mine. We stopped for groceries in Morenci and then dumped our tanks in Clifton, the next town.
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Coronado Trail Highway – May 2, Part 1

  

We drove through Alpine to reach the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway (US Hwy 191). We topped up our fuel and added a few staples before starting down the Byway.
  
The Coronado Trail is a very twisty two lane road that travels through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. The complete Byway is 120 miles from Springerville to Clifton. It basically runs north-south along the Arizona/New Mexico State line. It passes just to the east of the White Mountains. The travels close to the Blue Range Primitive Area and the Bear Wallow Wilderness.  
   
There are lots of great places to stop and admire the view.  
  
  
 There are a number of places recovering from fire damage.
  
Due to the switchbacks and hairpin turns parts of it are not recommended for long RVs. Fortunately, we don’t really fit in that category. Our shorter wheelbase makes us more maneuverable than most vehicles our length. 
  
You can see the road in this photo. 

The traffic was pretty light, but there are a lot of motorcycles and sports cars that enjoy going down the road very fast. We were repeatedly passed by the local Porche owners club and motorcycles. 
We stopped for a short hike to the top of Rose Peak. It was only supposed to be about a mile and there is a fire tower at the top. 
  
The trail wasn’t well marked, so we walked up the service road for the fire tower. Rose Peak, at 8700 ft, is well above the surrounding mountains.
 
You can see the tower at the center of the photo. Jon is walking in front of me. 

The fire tower is a fairly short one. Zane, the forest ranger manning the post was happy to let us up to check out the view.
  
It has been a pretty wet spring, so the year has had fewer fires than usual. There was a thunderstorm in the distance with lightning that kept Zane busy when we first arrived. 
  
   
He says that it is very rare for him to have visitors. It is hard to believe since the hike up there along the service road was only about 1.5 miles and very gradual and easy. With the tower so short, you don’t even have all that many steps to climb. The view was amazing. 

 

  
On our walk back down, we saw the most amazing rainbows. They were only visible on some very wispy clouds. I’ve never seen one like it. 
  
After a short break for lunch, we headed on down the Byway stopping to take photos and admire the view several times. 
   

 

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