The original trip had to be adjusted due to unexpected cancellations so it was just Wendy and I. I was glad Wendy still wanted to play this weekend. She picked out a nice hike/camp/drive/tour for us to do. I drove down Friday afternoon and had cocktails and dinner with her and Gary at El Charro so I could enjoy some carne seca . YUM.
Then after we got home, Wendy made me a huckleberry /vodka/soda drink. Double yum!
The next morning we left a little after 8 AM to the Cochise Stronghold. Instead of taking the 191 off the I-10, we took a short-cut Randy had shown her a few years ago. As we are getting nearer the campground, we spotted some SAR guys and helicopter in what looked like some prep for practice rescue. That is comforting and hopefully we wouldn't need their service. The recent rain made for a few interesting but not deep water crossings. Once we found our spot at the campground
, we geared up and headed right on the Nature Trail. You can go either way and you will arrive at the sign that says the trail is ahead and the mileage.
Let me tell you, it took us a long time to get even the first 1/2 mile done as there were a lot of distractions
between the running water in the creek, the various flora and cool fauna including a Horse Lubber that was simply stunning and so fun to watch. If you just want to check out the fauna show to this point, I created a separate VIDEO
And then of course we had a some of those cutesy lizards like the greater earless, desert spiny and mountain spiny. AND a couple frogs including a really miniature one and a leopard frog.
to this point http://youtu.be/5i2wRPWNqo0
. Once we hit the first gate, we had less distractions and made a little better time. We made note of the junction of the Three March Trail we thot we might do on Sunday. We checked out the Spring area and box. As we continued to make our way up, the views just got better and better. All of those incredible and beautifully colored boulders and boulder mountains began tp appear in earnest
. Fortunately, it did seem to get a tad cooler the higher we got. You do go up and down the creek crossings from time to time as well.
The next big stop is at the Half Moon Stock Tank. Well that was a treat, not that the water was cool looking as it wasn't
but the reflections of the surrounding area were. And from here we had a tad over 1 mile to get to the Divide. I must have been anxious as I did a face plant
trying to step up a rock. Fortunately my camera survived without any damage while I didn't fare quite as well when I used my arms and hands to try and prevent the fall. You know how you try to do everything in your power from hitting the dirt completely; well that just didn't quite work
. My inside lower arms are killing me but the other injuries are not so bad today. This kinna seemed to be my hike for this and other petty injuries.
We were grateful for the occasional cloud cover and when we got to the divide, the clouds seem to hang around for awhile. Here is the VIDEO
to this point of the hike: http://youtu.be/jMRmW7Jxza4
I thot we would have our lunch here and then turn around. I thot WRONG. I should know better when I'm with Wendy. It wasn't that I was tired but I knew if we headed down 1100 feet the next 1 3/4 miles we would have to come back UP
I hadn't done any decent hiking in quite some time...
so we zig-zagged thru the gate and headed down the trail; well not quite. Wendy, after saying she couldn't remember the trail being THIS steep
, we reversed our course and went back up to the gate. From here we found the actual trail veered to the left (south) and we got on our way. The trail was somewhat overgrown the rest of the way that we went.
The long switchbacks were much appreciated especially when you got to turn back and head east to see such great views. We came upon the part of the trail (to the NE?) that is blocked off that goes further east and back down to the creek where Wendy is thinking about taking a backpack trip. We GPS marked the spot for future reference.
There were a couple areas along the way where the trail is washing away somewhat so we had to be a little careful. And then we came to a tree that had fallen across the trail that we had to work our way under
and thru to continue. Off in the distance we would see a waterfall so I knew we would have to continue a lot further down; but waterfalls are always worth it. The trail, however, veered away from the waterfall so we decided to have lunch within view of the waterfall about a mile from the Divide.
On our way back, Wendy decides to go off course TO the waterfall and somehow, she managed to find a cairned way
to the waterfall. It's a bit of a downhill from the ravine but the reward is worth the effort as before you know it, you hike down and then up right next to the waterfall
. It looks like there would be no problem climbing to the top of it. We enjoyed sitting by the waterfall for about 10 minutes and then decided to make our way back.
Surprisingly, the going UP wasn't half-bad as less than 45 minutes later we were back at the Divide. The clouds had pretty much disappeared so it got a little warm but nothing unbearable. The sun was also getting behind us now so the scenery was even more vibrant than when we came up the trail. The reflections
at Half Moon were more intense as well.
The trip back was pretty uneventful altho we saw a few more lizards and hiked in and out of the shade, up and over and around the creek, arriving back at camp in pretty good time (1 hr 40 min three miles from the Divide). Surprisingly we only ran into two people and a dog at the beginning of the hike and none the whole rest of the time. Here is VIDEO
that includes the hike from the Divide down the trail for a mile, our trek to the waterfall and our hike back to the trail head: http://youtu.be/KtG6Kc2x9iI
Just a quick PS - I know Preston used to do this hike a lot so he came to mind once or twice.
We had our little happy hour and got the fireplace/grill going. I put up my new mansion of a tent (Thx Randy, it worked well) with an assist from Wendy on the fly and helped Wendy with her hammock (I hope to go this route soon but I spent my spare change on my teeth and shoes). We made some hot dogs with all the fixin's but two of the dogs rolled into the fire . No problem tho as like good campers, we watered them off and put them back on the grill.
The next day we headed out for a drive to Bisbee via the 191. It was all new territory for me and I enjoyed the scenery a lot . It helped to get a better sense of some of those mountain ranges people hike in. We did the "Wendy" walking tour of some of the streets of Bisbee and had a wonderful lunch at the Grill on main street. We were going to make one other stop on the way back to Tucson but somehow we missed the turn. It was getting pretty warm anyway.
Oh, and 350 miles later, I got home. The total trip was around 500 miles give or take.