Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cochise Stronghold, Arizona

After leaving Davis Mountains State Park, we drove on to Arizona and spent the night at Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains. The area was known as one of the locations where Cochise stayed. He is apparently buried somewhere in this area, but no one knows where - it was in a ravine and his dog and his horse were killed and buried with him.

A view from the road on the way to Cochise Stronghold

Our campsite at Cochise.  There were 2 other people there with us.  The campground is first come, first served with no way to reserve spots in advance.

On a walkabout in the campground while Shawn was off mountain biking.

The beginning of the Cochise Trail.  It is 8 miles round trip.  We did 4 - which was to the divide between the east and west stronghold area and back.

One of the mountains

In the creek.  I love the grass on the right side - I'm not sure what type it is, but I do really like it.  I also fell in love with the Manzanita bush which was all over in this area.

Looking up the mountain

Another look up the mountain

Scrub or Mexican Jay.  I love the look of if I were going to get a tattoo, I think this would be a top contender.

Shawn taking photos in the morning

Rocks in the morning.

Half Moon Tank - i.e. it's a dam.

On the upstream side of the dam.  This is about 1 mile into the hike.

A different angle of the dragoons.  The rocks were so cool here - all rounded and shit.

Baby agave with some Manzanita seeds.  I didn't take any photos when we got to the divide because there really wasn't anything to take a photo of - but neither of us wanted to continue on for fear that we'd just keep being like "just a little further" and then we'd have to turn around and hike all the way back.  In other words, this was probably taken about 2.5 miles into the hike.

Shadow selfie

Again, Shawn leading the way.

Rocks.  It's really not difficult to understand how Cochise managed to wage a 10-year long war against the US government in an area the size of a postage stamp with his home-turf looking like this.

Cactus.  Some type of Mammilaria?

Blacktail Rattlesnake.  This guy didn't even start rattling at us until later.  This is about 3 miles into the hike. And we had obviously already walked past this spot on our way out.

After we went around the snake (we went off trail), we decided to go around back to see if he was still on the trail - he had already moved off the trail and was under a pine tree.
This was actually the point when he started rattling at us.  Blacktails are apparently the most docile of the rattlesnakes and least likely to bite...not that I want to put that to the test...

I think all the yellow is creosote bush, but I don't know that for sure.  These "Sky Islands" have a huge variety of plants and a lot of them are different than what you find at the lower levels.

More rocks

Heading west toward Tucson

At the McDonalds in Wilcox.  This was the first time I had heard of McDonalds having All Day Breakfast.  I don't think you realize how excited I got about that prospect.  I think the counter girl thought I was insane.

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