Years in planning, we finally made it out on a road trip to New Mexico a few weeks ago. One of the key components was making sure to go while the bats were at Carlsbad Caverns (May-ish - October-ish each year), which between work and other stuff, had delayed this trip a couple of years. Our first stop, besides the essentials, was to this weird rock formation.
If you've ever driven along I-10/the 10, depending on where you hail from, through Arizona between Tuscon and Phoenix, you've seen this very distinct rock shape. We decided to actually pulled over, driving closer and closer to the rock to explore a little bit. Turns out we eventually reached an Arizona State Park called Picacho Peak . It was $7/a car to get in and the pass lasted for a few days. Unfortunately we only had about an hour, around noon, but we drove around, wandered around and explored a bit. The park had all sorts of hiking trails along the quiet landscape sprinkled with Saguaro cacti, camp sites and some pretty clean bathrooms & cold water fountains if you wanted to take more time to enjoy the iconic southwestern U.S. desert landscape. I'm sure there were snakes, lizards and other critters around, but during the noon Arizona heat (driving through Arizona at night, the temp was still in the 90's!), the only animals we saw were some hawks and ravens flying overhead.
Then there was more driving... off to our next adventures in New Mexico!