20130317

Lots to see. Lots to do. Let's go! Sierra Vista AZ 3/14 - 3/17


Willcox to Sierra Vista  (Arizona) is a relatively short distance and shouldn't take long to drive, unless you stop several times along the way, like we did.  We wanted to see as much of SE Arizona as we could while here and that included driving to Cochise Stronghold.  Located in the Dragoon Mountains, this is one whale of a rugged neighborhood!  At first glance all is sere and desolate-looking.  Further into a canyon, a small stream flows; a sign points to a trail leading to a natural spring, and the desert comes to life.  Quite beautiful in an austere sort of way.  Imagine our surprise at seeing a very nice campground at the end of the "road!"  (Smartie did not like that dirt washboard road.  Tergel was parked at the museum parking lot below.)  We hiked around some, but needed to get a move on.  Would love to come back....

Our next sojourn was in the Amerind Museum - a museum of Native American Archaeology, Art, History, and Culture.  Founded in 1937, it's a treasure trove of marvelous historical items.  Our tour was short, but worth the stop.  No picture-taking allowed inside the museum.  After lunch, we hooked Smartie to Tergel and set out south to Sierra Vista.

The sign reads:  "This rugged area served as a natural fortress and hideout for Apache Indians of the Chiricahua clan led by Cochise.  He was born in these Dragoon Mountains about 1815.  From 1860 to 1872 the Cochise band battled the U.S. Cavalry because of the handling of an incident at Apache Pass about 30 miles east of here.  It is believed Cochise was buried somewhere in the Stronghold."

Jimmy on the trail.  He has his walking stick in case of snakes (none seen) and to ward off any marauding javelinas!  One crossed the road in front of Smartie at the Stronghold sign.

We hiked along both trails.

* * * * * * * * * *

So, we signed up for four nites at the Sierra Vista Elks Lodge, but after one noisy nite (very loud traffic) and construction directly behind our motor home beginning the next morning, we said, "we are out of here!"  Did not know that Fort Huachuca across the street had an RV park.  We checked it out and it was fine.  So fine that it was full.  BUT, they had an overflow area a mile or so closer to the mountains and when we pulled in there, we said, oh yeah, this is it.  No noise, no sound machine needed, no ear plugs.  The mountain views are spectacular.  So, three nites here.  We're about 15 miles north of the Mexican border.  We paid a call to Sierra Vista's Visitor Ctr, came home with a handful of brochures, and plotted out our days.

This Greater Roadrunner was at the Fort to greet us - beep-beep!

After setting up camp, we drove to Ft Huachuca Museum, a rabbit-warren of rooms in a building built in 1892.  We spent quite a bit of time looking around and reading the history.  Jimmy salutes the Soldier above.

This fort has been involved in action many of us never knew of or heard about.  It's 76,000-acre setting in the Huachuca Mtns, another of Arizona's "sky islands," is a sight to behold.

You can enlarge these descriptive signs to read them easier.  So much of interest here.

This Internet connection isn't very good and keeps dropping me off, frustrating when in the middle of uploading pictures!  If I can, tomorrow I'll add another South Arizona post.     

2 comments:

  1. It seems you are visiting that area at a perfect time of the year. I was there during the middle of the summer in 1988. It was a little toasty then. :)

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  2. You are exploring one of my favorite areas of AZ. My cousin (who now lives up here) used to run the wine tasting room in Willcox, and lived 12 miles from Cochise Stronghold. We've hiked that trail (and others) in the Stronghold many times. Lots of good hiking in Cochise County, but the distances are pretty vast! So glad you are there at the right time of year.

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